COPAC Co-chairs to speak at residents conference in Bulawayo

The three Co-Chairpersons of the Constitution Parliament Select Committee (COPAC) have confirmed their presence at the 2nd National Residents Associations conference on the constitution. Their confirmation has come at a time when the dates of the second all stakeholders conference have been set. However, there was a serious outcry which came from non-politically aligned groups and the broader civil society with regards to the issue of delegates.

COPAC has planned to extend the issue of invites to political parties making 2nd stakeholders conference a political party’s affair which is exclusive of civil society which had earlier on been promised that they will constitute at least 70% of the total delegates. Residents Associations country wide have vowed to take COPAC head-on at this conference and present some of their concerns as stipulated below:

Residents Demands (on the 2nd all stakeholders conference)

1. That 70% of delegates attending the second all stakeholders’ conference be drawn from civil society and non-partisan actors.

2. That COPAC guarantees security for all attending delegates. This is against a background of assaults and heckling that was witnessed during the 1st all stakeholders conference in Harare.

3. No other draft except the COPAC draft should be produced at the conference. (the Zanu PF draft and any other draft should never be part of the agenda)

4. The national report should be produced at the conclusion of the COPAC process to allow for the capturing of other events including the conference its self and the referendum.

5. Civil Society should be given ample time to present its own findings on the current draft and their concerns be registered. What this entails is that there should be a clear methodology and time lines for presentations and meaningful debate to take place.

6. Clear time frames should be stipulated as we move towards the referendum because this process has taken too much time which is an unhealthy situation considering the state of the national fiscus.

7. There should be no media muzzling. We are demanding that this process be open to the media and independent journalists should be given the go ahead to cover this event.

8. It only makes sense to allow external observers to come so that an independent report is submitted to the next SADC heads of states summit.

Resident Associations are going to come up with a clearer position on the constitution which will be used as constitutional discourse enquiries paper during the second all stakeholders conference. A joint press release with follow the conference with detailed information.

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