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This article participates on the following special index pages:
New Constitution-making process - Index of articles
on the All Stakeholders' Constitutional Conference
Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC)
July 16, 2009
On the 12th of July 2009,
the accreditation process for the All Stakeholders Constitutional
Conference began. The historic constitutional making process attracted
political parties, Church denominations, civic society, business
sector, traditional leaders, NGOs and other interests groups. The
build up to this historic conference attracted the local and international
What became obvious during
the registration process was lack of adequate preparation by the
Parliamentary Select Committee. The Parliamentary Select Committee
was clearly overwhelmed by the numbers of delegates that trooped
in for registration on the 12th of July 2009. Poor logistics in
terms of the provision of food to delegates, allocation of accommodation
and the chaotic process of accreditation on the eve of the conference
clearly provided space for political emotions to erupt.
On the 13th July 2009,
the delegates gathered at the International Conference Centre at
0900 hours with high expectations. Sadly, the Parliamentary Select
Committee was no where to be seen for almost three hours. The delay
by the Parliamentary Select Committee to officially start the meeting
led some political misguided elements to turn the whole event into
a political rally. Some political activists among the delegates
to the conference took it upon themselves to sing insulting political
songs and sloganeering their party agendas.
When the Parliamentary
Select Committee finally appeared, political emotions were already
high. The Master of Ceremonies surprisingly omitted the national
anthem prompting some delegates to demand that it be sung. In the
thick of events, some delegates started singing the national anthem
though in an un-coordinated fashion. After singing the national
anthem, normalcy seemed to have prevailed. As the Speaker of Parliament
was delivering his opening remarks, some political activists suddenly
erupted into song, dance, sloganeering and throwing some objects
towards the Speaker of Parliament and those who sat in the high
table. This action frustrated the address of the Speaker of Parliament.
The disrespect and the contempt displayed toward the Speaker of
Parliament, the entire people of Zimbabwe and the whole constitution
making process shown by some sloganeering delegates is a shame,
insensate and an embarrassment to the nation as a whole. It is apparently
clear to us that the disruption of the Speaker of Parliament's
address was clearly orchestrated to undermine the process of writing
a people friendly constitution. As a result of the disruption of
the Speaker of Parliament's address, the entire business of
the conference grounded to a halt as most delegates hurriedly left
the conference venue in fear.
At about 5:30 pm, the
Parliamentary Select Committee finally came out of their meeting
and addressed delegates declaring that the conference would reconvene
on the morning of the 14th of July 2009.
It is with total
regret that the Church in Zimbabwe found itself to be part of these
embarrassing, dehumanizing, disgraceful and chaotic events that
threaten the unity and peace offered under the Global
Political Agreement and more-so by the process of a people friendly
constitution. To make matters worse, the events of the 13th of July
were watched by the whole world which had anticipated good coming
out of the conference.
As the conference re-opened
on the 14th of July 2009, the security organs of the state were
visible all over to maintain peace. The screening process allowed
officially accredited delegates into the conference venue. Those
delegates who attended the conference conducted themselves well
and the agenda of the conference proceeded without any disruption.
The presenters on thematic areas carried out their job demonstrating
We note with great concern
the poor catering services during lunch times at the conference
which did not reflect the Zimbabwean hospitality. There was lack
of planning in terms of handling re-imbursements and refunds related
to both transport and food expenses incurred by delegates. We noted
with disgust that some delegates were refunded for flying, driving
while others were given a flat figure of US$40 as transport reimbursement
regardless of where they came from without considering the distance
We the Zimbabwe
Council of Churches exercising our prophetic responsibility, unreservedly
a) The unruly
behaviour of those political activists who disrupted the proceedings
of the 13th of July 2009 as counter-productive, unreasonable, divisive,
intimidatory and unhelpful to a nation that has known tension and
pain when we should be building a country that our posterity would
be proud of.
b) The failure of those political leaders who were present in the
conference to call to order their party activists
c) The poor planning for the All Stakeholders Constitutional Conference.
a) The principals
to the Global Political Agreement for coming out clear in condemning
those who disrupted the proceedings of the All Stakeholders Constitutional
b) The Parliamentary Select Committee for resolving that the All
Stakeholders Constitutional Conference should continue in-spite
of the attempts to derail it.
c) The official delegates for their patience and determination to
continue with the process despite the threat from those who disrupted
the proceeding of the 13th of July.
a) The political
leadership must put mechanisms to deal with those activists that
disrupted the conference in terms of their party disciplinary measures.
b) All political parties should make sure that their supporters
respect the Constitutional making process by refraining from singing
their party songs and sloganeering or engaging in other forms of
c) The Parliamentary Select Committee immediately brings in people
from the Church and civic society to the management committee.
d) The media must refrain from biased reporting and present facts
as they are.
e) The principals of the Global Political Agreement make sure that
the processes provided for under the Global Political Agreement
are respected and fully carried out.
f) In future reimbursements should be done in consultation with
all stakeholders involved.
We call upon
all Christians and people of good-will to desist from glaring partisan
behaviour and engage in prayer, forgiveness, reconciliation, healing
and peace building as we seek to make our national constitution.
View the Zimbabwe
Council of Churches fact
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