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Progress on COPAC's review of the first draft - Constitution Watch
March 13, 2012
on COPAC’s Review of the First Draft
on First Draft Speeds Up
co-chairs complete their review of first draft
On Tuesday 6th
March the three COPAC co-chairs – Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana
of ZANU-PF, Douglas Mwonzora of MDC-T and Edward Mkhosi of MDC –
announced that they had completed their own “review”
of the first draft
of the new constitution on Monday 5th March. This had been done
with the assistance of the technical committee [this is the 17-member
committee representing the three GPA
parties and the chiefs] and expert advisers. The next step, they
said, was for their review report to be presented to the full Select
Committee which would in turn go through the draft.
considered by full Select Committee
last week the co-chairs presented their review report to the full
COPAC Select Committee. Working at the Harare International Conference
Centre, the Select Committee then started going through the report
and the first draft of the constitution. The COPAC press statement
issued at a press and civil society briefing at noon that Friday
said that the Select Committee’s review was “nearly
complete”. Later information was that the Select Committee
was expected to finish the job on Monday 12th March. A report would
then be given to the Management Committee at a meeting also planned
for Monday, but subsequently rescheduled for today Tuesday 13th
March. But, as key members of the committee, ZANU-PF negotiator
and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa and
Emerson Mnangagwa are not available on Tuesday, the meeting may
not take place or may not be able to finalise the parked issues.
Committee to decide on “parked issues”
At its meeting
the Management Committee is expected to decide on the remaining
outstanding issues which have until now been “parked”
because of inter-party disagreements at Select Committee level.
These parked issues include devolution of power, the death penalty
and dual citizenship.
for draft by the GPA principals?
meeting on 27th February the GPA principals said they would like
to see the completed draft on 12th March [a request – not
an ultimatum as reported by the press] they will obviously have
to wait a few weeks longer.
Work of Three Lead Drafters
The lead drafters
cannot start work on the final version of the draft constitution
until all issues have been finally agreed, by COPAC co-chairs, the
COPAC Select Committee, the Management Committee, which includes
the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and the
three GPA parties’ negotiators, and by the GPA principals
– President Mugabe, Prime Minster Tsvangirai and DPM Mutambara.
the work the three lead drafters will need to do can be completed
within five days.
Rejects Criticism of UNDP-Sponsored Foreign Expert Adviser
briefing the co-chairs, responding to questions, dismissed savage
criticism from within ZANU-PF of the presence within the COPAC process
of UNDP-sponsored South African expert adviser, Hassen Ebrahim.
This had appeared in The Herald of 8th March. ZANU-PF co-chair Mangwana
explained that Mr Ebrahim’s appointment by the UNDP had been
approved by the co-chairs, that he was an internationally recognised
constitutional expert and that they had no reservations about his
purely advisory contribution to the constitution-making process.
A separate press statement, signed by all three co-chairs confirmed
this and emphasised that “key decisions in this process have
been made by COPAC itself”. The statement also expresses “gratitude
for the support given to us by the UNDP and the consortium of donors
who have so generously supported the process” and concludes
thus: “Without the financial and technical assistance from
our co-operating partners, COPAC would not have made the progress
it has made.”
From COPAC’s Press Briefing of Friday 9th March
were touched on in COPAC’s first press statement on Friday:
the drafters used
people’s views collected during outreach formed the basis
for the discussions around the proposed new draft. These views
which were collected during outreach are contained in the national
report which is still under construction as it is about the
whole process. It is from this report that two important draft
foundational documents, one of constitutional issues and the
other of constitutional principles were derived. In drafting
the proposed draft, the drafters used these two important documents
as well as the gap-filling document produced by the Select Committee
with the assistance of its Technical Committee. This process
therefore guarantees that the people’s views will be contained
in the new draft.”
the second/final draft
this document is in place, it will be then be widely publicized
to give all Zimbabweans to familiarise with its contents before
it is taken to the Second All-Stakeholders Conference.”
Translations into all indigenous languages will be provided.
of Second All-Stakeholders Conference
is a people-driven process, the purpose of the conference is to
give Zimbabweans, through their representatives, an opportunity
to comment on the draft before it is finalised and taken to Parliament
for debate and the referendum thereafter.”
on COPAC’s Statement
given to lead drafters
The brief 26-item
constitutional principles document was sent out in Constitution
Watch of 21st February and subsequently appeared in the press. But
COPAC has not so far made public the other two documents referred
to – the constitutional issues document and the gap-filling
document. Nor has it released its instructions to the three lead
drafters, although doing so might have served to dampen the unpleasant
campaign of criticism directed at them personally by those objecting
to certain provisions in their leaked first draft.
On the national
that this national report will be “about the whole process”,
and is therefore still under construction, is unconvincing. Of course
COPAC is expected to produce a report on the whole constitution-making
process. But previously COPAC has given the impression that the
process of gathering the views of the people would result in a national
report on the outreach, with a statistical component and a narrative
component. The leaked “national report” published by
the Herald in December covers statistics of outreach meetings only;
it does not include Diaspora contributions or those received directly
by COPAC from stakeholders such as Parliament, the disabled, children;
and it has no narrative component, analysing all contributions from
both the qualitative and the quantitative angles. The qualitative/quantitative
arguments between ZANU-PF and the other parties delayed progress
last year when the district and provincial outreach reports were
being compiled. So this latest statement reads like an attempt to
gloss over the inability of the political parties within COPAC to
reach consensus on the narrative component of the promised national
report on the whole outreach exercise.
the drafting stage
The total cost
of the drafting stage is put at $1.7 million. This stage is regarded
as having commenced with the Great Zimbabwe Hotel, Masvingo Workshop
at the beginning of November, so the amount covers not only the
remuneration of the three lead drafters but also the work of the
fifteen technical experts and rapporteurs who have contributed to
this part of the constitution-making process, their meetings and
the workshops and retreats of the co-chairs and the Select Committee.
forecast within COPAC for holding the conference is “April
or May”. The budget for the conference is $2.1 million. This
will be a smaller gathering [2 500 delegates] than the First All-Stakeholders
Conference in July 2009 [which involved over 4 000 delegates].
work for Referendum
This will cost
about $200 000. But the costs and organisation of the Referendum
itself will be the responsibility of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
total expenditure is likely to hit the $45 million mark. About half
of that was spent on the outreach programme, which not only overran
its originally planned 65 days by another 40 days, but also involved
nearly twice as many people – 1300 all told – than the
originally planned 700. Transport costs were very high – principally
for hiring vehicles and paying for fuel. 260 vehicles were hired
at a basis cost of $100 per vehicle, but with distances over 200
kilometres per day costing extra. Another major component of outreach
costs was made up of accommodation and subsistence and remuneration
for those involved in the programme.
Gift Marunda has rejected allegations that the prospect of substantial
financial gains for the parliamentarians on the Select Committee
has prompted undue prolonging of the constitution-making process.
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
legal responsibility for information supplied
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