The parliamentary select committee (COPAC) in charge of drafting Zimbabwe’s new constitution and representatives of the civil society held marathon meetings on Monday to clarify confusion surrounding the participation of non-governmental organizations at the second all stakeholders’ conference scheduled for October 4.
COPAC came under fire late last week from civil society members who complained that the three political parties in the inclusive government had decided to exclude them from the important process.
Regional coordinator Phillan Zamchiya of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said in the meeting, COPAC co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora told the civil society leaders that delegates to the conference were scaled down from the initial 2,000 to 1,100.
At least 246 delegates will be drawn from political parties, 284 from parliament and 571 are expected to be provided by civil society.
“I think the political parties were just trying to be very arrogant however it’s now water under the bridge because we have knocked sense in their heads and we commend them for their positive response because this is not only good for civil society but for the nation,” Zamchiya said.
However, Mwonzora insisted there was a communication breakdown as the select committee was still to send invitation letters to the civil society groups to attend the conference.
“There was no truth in that we were not inviting them and that political parties wanted to monopolize the whole process,” said Mwonzora.
He said the NGOs were also told that international and local observers were free to attend the conference.
Mwonzora noted that the only document that will be under review is the final draft constitution which was recently endorsed by all the political parties in the inclusive government “together with all the information used in compiling the draft constitution.”