Constitution Watch 19-2012

CONSTITUTION WATCH 2012

[8th October 2012]

Stakeholders Conference Dates and Venue Fixed

The Second All Stakeholders’ Conference will run from Sunday 21st to Tuesday 23rd October at the Harare International Conference Centre.  The programme is as follows:

          Sunday 21st October            Arrival of delegates and opening ceremony

          Monday 22nd October          Conference business

          Tuesday 23rd October          Conclusion of business by midday.  Departure.

Number of Delegates

The number and breakdown of delegates remain as stated in Constitution Watch of 26th September:

Total ................................. 1 100  made up as follows:

Members of Parliament ....  280

Other delegates ................. 820

Breakdown of the 820 “other delegates”

GPA parties [30%].............. 246  [82 nominated by each party]

Civil Society [70%] ............. 574  [method of selection still  to be revealed]

Accreditation of Delegates

Accreditation of delegates will start next week and will be at provincial level.  [Veritas will send out more information – i.e. times, venues – when it becomes available.]  This should avoid the chaos that characterised the single day centralised registration at the First All Stakeholders’ Conference in 2009.  Details of civil society organisations to be invited to send delegates are still being decided. 

Comment: It is difficult for civil society to organise itself for input on issues of constitutional content while the arrangements are still uncertain less than two week before for the Conference and organisations do not know whether or not they will be delegates.  

Observers and Press

The COPAC co-chairs have said that observers and press will be permitted to attend the Conference.  Accreditation will be required – details to be provided as soon as they are available.

Mandate and Methodology of Conference

The mandate of the Conference will be to make comments and recommendations on the draft.  It will not be a re-drafting conference. 

Delegates to be grouped  The planned methodology is that delegates will break up into groups, with each group assigned one chapter of the COPAC draft – there are 18 chapters with the preamble counting as part of Chapter 1 on Founding Principles.  Each group will have three co-chairs, one nominated by each of the three GPA parties.  This arrangement mirrors the co-chair system followed for the full COPAC Select Committee, for the teams that conducted the outreach meetings and for the thematic committees that were set up to prepare the reports on the outreach exercise.

Report back to plenary  Each group will report back to the plenary Conference on its comments and recommendations on its allocated chapter of the draft constitution.  If a group cannot reach consensus on any point, the differing viewpoints will be reflected in its report.  The plenary will merely receive the reports – no further input or discussion will be allowed once a report has been presented. 

Action on Conference report  These comments and recommendations will be considered and action on them, if any, decided on after the Conference.  The original intention was that this should be done by COPAC but latest indications are that the GPA principals intend to take a leading role.  It is likely that in either case, any suggested amendments will once again be subject to party negotiations.

Comment: Taking the draft chapter by chapter will make it difficult for some organisations which have valuable inputs to make on several chapters and the lack of time will make it difficult for organisations to get together to strategise to overcome this problem.

Funding

The Minster of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs reported an entirely satisfactory Project Board Meeting [Management Committee and donors] and that funding the Conference will be available.

 

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

 

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