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reach agreement on second draft: Questions about second All-Stakeholders
conference - Constitution Watch
July 18, 2012
Reach Agreement on Second Draft
Second All-Stakeholders Conference
by Management Committee
17th to 20th
June Nyanga Retreat
Committee, including the GPA
negotiators, met at Nyanga to try and conclude the revision of the
first draft and
to make any new decisions about the requested inputs following review
by the political parties, some of which the Select Committee had
not been able to decide on. The three lead drafters were present
at this Retreat, and as each portion was revised to incorporate
new inclusions/exclusions, it was given to them for formal drafting.
Unfortunately the process
was not completed at Nyanga as had been hoped.
31st June and
9th, 11th, 13th and 16th July meetings in Harare
Committee met to continue the work of the Nyanga Retreat. The drafters
worked almost every day for a month to capture the revisions and
decisions made by the Management Committee.
Meeting 17th July until 5 am today [18th]
Management Committee met and the lead drafters were on standby for
what was hoped would be a final wrap-up session on the Second Draft.
In a great show of determination they worked through the night and
agreed on a final version of the Second Draft.
to Parliamentary Select Committee
Select Committee will probably meet tomorrow to receive the Second
Draft. The negotiators have stressed this meeting is only to inform
them but not for them to make alterations.
The final step
before the release of the Second Draft is for the Management Committee
to present it to the GPA principals and obtain clearance to go ahead
with the remainder of the constitution-making process. As the final
Second Draft is the de facto product of the GPA negotiators, it
is unlikely the principals will call in other advisers – this
would raise the possibility of further changes having to be made
which would also have to be subject to negotiation and would slow
down the process all over again.
to Make Second Draft Officially Available
At a meeting
with civil society representatives on 5th July COPAC Co-chair Douglas
Mwonzora promised that official copies of the Second
Draft would be made publicly available as soon as it was finished.
He expressed the hope that doing this would avoid the unfortunate
“information gap” that resulted from the unofficial
leaking and publication contrary to COPAC’s wishes of the
revised First Draft.
– Product of Party Political Negotiations
Article 6 of
the GPA acknowledges “the fundamental right and duty of the
Zimbabwean people to make a constitution by themselves and for themselves”
and “that the process of making this constitution must be
owned and driven by the people and must be inclusive and democratic”.
But, although there was wide consultation with the people during
the Outreach, it has become clear that the draft constitution we
will get is largely an outcome of the three GPA political parties’
- COPAC has
never produced a consolidated national report setting out its
findings as to what the people said
- The absence
of this report left the different parties scope to argue about
what the people really said during the Outreach and what they
want in the new constitution. Each party claims to know what the
people’s views are – but their versions differ.
Stage – Second All Stakeholders Conference
Once the Second
Draft has been accepted by the GPA principals, the next major stage
in the constitution-making process as laid down by Article 6 of
the GPA is the Second All Stakeholders Conference.
is the Purpose of this Conference?
Article 6 of
the GPA does not state the role of this Conference. It merely says
that the draft must be “tabled before” a Second All
Stakeholders Conference. This prompts such questions as:
- Is the consultation
at the Second All Stakeholders Conference going to be merely a
token one at which civil society will receive information and
explanations, but changes will not be entertained? This was implied
in a COPAC press statement of 9th February 2012 which said that
the draft constitution “will be availed to all Zimbabweans
to comment on at the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference”.
- Or is it
to allow further input from stakeholders? A press statement, dated
10th May 2012, stated that “Once the complete COPAC Draft
Constitution has been adopted by the Management Committee, it
will be availed to the people of Zimbabwe for broader consultations,
culminating in the Second All Stakeholders Conference and the
Referendum. A Final COPAC Draft Constitution will incorporate
changes that the people of Zimbabwe, through their representatives
at the Second All Stakeholders Conference, would have made to
the Draft agreed to by the coalition partners in the GNU
through the current consultations.”
It would seem
desirable, as the whole process has been so much in the hands of
the GPA parties, that there should be an incorporation of views
at the Conference. On the other hand, there is consensus that the
Constitution should be in place as soon as possible, and further
input at this stage could cause more delays. If there are changes
suggested, there is likely to be more party political dissension
over what is to be incorporated. The lead drafters would have to
redraft sections, it would have to go back to political parties
for review, etc. A call for input may also be an invitation to war
veterans to go on the rampage again or to ZANU-PF to try again for
more of its 29 pages of demands to be incorporated. The process
could be endlessly prolonged.
The position that the Conference is for information and comment
only seems to be the current opinion of experts Veritas has consulted.
But with previous conflicting statements from COPAC, until there
is a formal new statement from COPAC the purpose of the Conference
on Preparations for Second All Stakeholders’ Conference
their press releases and co-chairs’ and secretariat’s
Second Draft COPAC has already called for tenders.
COPAC has promised translation of the Second Draft into all vernacular
languages and into Braille.
will be producing booklets, leaflets and TV and radio programmes,
summarising and explaining the draft.
outreach will be conducted by COPAC to explain the draft and help
stakeholders and members of the public to familiarise themselves
society Preparations for the Second All Stakeholders Conference
– women’s groups, children’s rights groups, environmental
groups, those pressing for more devolution of power to regions or
provinces, etc – have been holding workshops and conferences
about their stance for the Second All Stakeholders Conference. Some
sectors have drawn up lists of demands and have threatened to vote
NO in the referendum if these are not met.
They need clarity
as soon as possible on:
- Whether new
inputs will be accepted
- Dates for
- The process
of identifying delegates [COPAC said some time ago that there
will be 2500 delegates – compared to the 5000 odd that participated
in the chaotic First All Stakeholders’ Conference in 2009
– but how representation will be decided – by sectoral
and geographically – needs to be clarified.]
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