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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Second All Stakeholders Conference Programme - Constitution Watch
    October 20, 2012

    Second All Stakeholders’ Conference Programme

    Sunday 21st – Tuesday 23rd October

    Conference Programme

    Day 1: Sunday 21st October: Arrival of Delegates

    There will be no Conference meetings on Sunday 21st October. Out-of-town delegates will arrive and settle in at their various hotels so that all everyone will be ready for a punctual early start of the Conference proper at the Harare International Conference Centre [Rainbow Towers] the following morning. Delegates can get details of accommodation from COPAC Head Office, 31 Lawson Avenue, Milton Park, Harare, phone Harare 703268 and 702529 or on the cellphone number of the COPAC officer assigned to their province: Manicaland 0775 605 312; Mashonaland East 0772 252 272; Mashonaland West 0772 926 962; Mashonaland Central 0773 369 622; Harare Province 0773 098 047; Matabeleland North 0772 854 110; Matabeleland South 0772 423 428; Midlands 0775 359 332; Masvingo 0712 782 225; Bulawayo 0774 032 657.

    Day 2: Monday 22nd October: Conference Begins

    8 am - Delegates to be seated

    8.30 - 9 am Arrival of invited guests

    9 am - Proceedings commence with National Anthem followed by introduction by Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs

    9.30 am - GPA principals address Conference

    10.30 am - GPA principals and invited guests depart

    11 am - Co-chairs give overview of constitution-making process and explain methodology of Conference

    1 pm - Lunch break

    2.30 pm - Delegates break up into groups

    3,30 pm - Tea break

    4 pm Plenary – groups report back

    Day 3: Tuesday 23rd October: Departure

    The morning is available if there is unfinished business carried over from Monday.

    Conference Documents

    • A copy of the COPAC draft constitution. Delegates and observers were given this on accreditation. They will receive the other promised documents before the start of the Conference on Monday:
    • National Statistical Report [see details below]

    And documents agreed among the 3 GPA parties provided to the drafters:

    • Constitutional principles
    • List of agreed constitutional Issues and points to be covered.
    • Gap-filling document – identifying gaps in information collected during the outreach and indicating how they should be dealt with.

    Security at the Conference

    The COPAC co-chairs assured Friday morning’s press briefing that arrangements had been made to ensure strict maintenance of security at the conference. Security personnel would be present both in uniform and in plain clothes.

    Delegates Code of Conduct

    Every accredited delegate has been required to sign an undertaking to abide by a Code of Conduct framed by COPAC in an effort to prevent the sort of rowdy behaviour that had marred the First All Stakeholders’ Conference in 2009. The Code prohibits disorderly, riotous and unbecoming behaviour, abusive language and gestures, heckling and interjecting, and other disruptive conduct. Breaches of the Code may result in expulsion from the Conference and forfeiture of any allowances payable for attendance.

    International and National Observers and Press

    COPAC has also kept to their assurance that international – mostly from embassies – and some national observers will be able to monitor the conference and these have been accredited. Limited accreditation of media also took place – marred by complaints about the limited numbers and method of allocation for media representatives, with free-lance journalists being turned away initially and some media houses being told they were too small to warrant registration. Despite one of the COPAC co-chairs being called in to try and sort things out, journalists are complaining that they should not be restricted in covering what is a national event of great general interest. Nevertheless, the presence of observers and even limited media will assist in deterring potential disruptions.

    Accreditation Process

    Accreditation of Conference delegates and observers largely proceeded smoothly, starting on 16th October. The accreditation process itself was well organised, comfortable, and courteous. There were only short queues and the actual process took only two or three minutes, after which one walked away with a Conference ID complete with photograph and a copy of the COPAC draft constitution.

    Unfortunately on the last day there were hitches and delays caused by the restricted number of media places [see above] and the continuing disagreement between COPAC and some civil society networks and organisations. Trouble was largely as a result of political parties having already nominated “their” NGOs to attend the Conference. There were also accusations that names had been substituted or dropped from NGO lists. This caused delays and confusion at the COPAC offices on 19th October, resulting in some would-be delegates still not being accredited. NGOs meeting in Harare to prepare for the Conference wrote to President Zuma complaining that NGO participation would be limited and not inclusive. Apart from this highly unsatisfactory aspect, still not resolved at the time of writing, on the whole, in comparison with the First All Stakeholders’ Conference, COPAC deserves credit for a better-organised process.

    Last Minute Court Case on Conference - High Court Says Conference Must Go Ahead

    On Thursday 18th October Justice Hlatshwayo gave the go-ahead for the Stakeholders Conference. In a last-minute application businessman Danny Musukuma had asked the court to prevent the Conference going ahead until COPAC had published its National Statistical Report in the press. COPAC explained to the judge that it had in fact published the report on its website some time ago – well before the application was lodged, and that it had already arranged to supply the report to all Conference delegates before the start of the Conference. Mr Musukuma and COPAC then agreed to the judge issuing an order as follows:

    • the Conference would go ahead
    • COPAC must ensure the distribution of hard copies of the report to the 10 provincial administrators’ offices countrywide by midday Saturday 20th October for people to photocopy it. [Note: the COPAC co-chairs gave an assurance at a press briefing on Friday morning that this would be done - [Note: The Short version of the National Statistical Report has almost 2000 pages.]
    • COPAC must by 10 am on 19th October release a Press statement informing the public through the national and other media that the National Statistical Report is accessible on its website [Note: this was done. See below about accessing documents on the website.]
    • Mr Musukuma must be given a copy of the report [Note: this has been done].

    The COPAC Website

    The Conference documents: The Conference documents may be downloaded from the COPAC website Most of these documents are on the website’s “Conference” page, so click on the link to that page, where you will find:

    • two versions of the National Statistical Report, both of them very large pdf documents – version 1 over 11 MB, and version 2 over 30 MB [see below for a note on these two versions]
    • the COPAC draft constitution as handed to delegates – i.e. with each page signed by all three co-chairs – 2 MB pdf document
    • the drafting instruments – i.e., what COPAC provided to the three lead drafters – a 7 MB pdf document.

    A chance to comment on the COPAC draft via the COPAC website: It is not too late for those not attending the Stakeholders’ Conference to submit comments on the COPAC draft constitution for consideration by COPAC. This can be done through the website – – by clicking on the “Draft Constitution” tab and then clicking on whichever of the 18 chapters of the Constitution you are interested in. The text of the chapter will then open on your screen and you will see that immediately under the text of each section there is an invitation to “Add a new comment”.

    Note on Version 1 and Version 2 of the National Statistical Report

    Why are there two versions of the National Statistical Report? The foreword to the National Statistical Report explains this in some detail and demonstrates how the two versions are linked to the debate over quantitative and qualitative methodologies that caused delays in the preparation of district and provincial reports on the outreach. “The Select Committee resolved that both the statistics (quantitative) and the qualitative aspects of the outcomes (for example meeting atmosphere and others) must be taken into account in deciding what would eventually go into the constitution. The interpretation of these statistics therefore has to take into account these limitations in the methodology used. Whilst a high frequency was a general guide, that in itself was not the sole determinant of the importance of an issue enough to find its way into the Draft Constitution that has been produced. It is for this reason that the Select Committee adopted two versions of interpreting the final data: Version 1 the National Statistical Report, which aggregates the outcomes in each ward and expresses that as a percentage of all the wards in the country, and Version 2 the Provincial Statistical Reports, which basically indicate how an issue fared per each province without subjecting it to the outcomes of other provinces.”

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