Copac thematic stage begins


The Thematic Committee stage of the constitution-making process kicked off on Tuesday with all delegates set to sign a code of conduct as authorities seek to curb incidents of violence.

“They are going to sign a code of conduct and anyone who violates it will be expelled. We have also put in political party disciplinary measures,” said Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana.

Last year, the first all-stakeholders conference was marred by violence, prompting organisers to stop proceedings only to resume the following day.

Although MPs and some delegates complained of accommodation hiccups as they checked in on Monday, Mangwana said the chaos had been sorted out and everything was in order.

“We have 600 delegates whom we are going to train for two days to familiarise them with the thematic areas, give them their terms of reference, as well as signing of their contracts,” said Mangwana.

“All thematic areas have specialist technical advisors, three of them nominated by each political party.”

He said the Thematic Committee stage was expected to be completed in 15 to 20 days and each committee would have 30 people deliberating on the issues.

In his opening remarks, Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga said the stage was very important as participants would be responsible for sifting information to come up with a supreme law that generations to come should be happy with.

“As you may all be aware, there is a consensus by all parties in the inclusive government that Zimbabwe will only hold elections when a new constitution is in place. It is, therefore, most critical that you do the task that you have been given with speed and sincerity so that we will not waste time arguing over minor issues,” Matinenga said.

Matinenga warned the participants to desist from wasting time pushing for individual political party positions.

He said after the completion of Thematic Committee stage, drafting would follow and then the draft constitution tabled to the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference for validation before being tabled in Parliament within a month.

The minister said the draft constitution that would emerge from Parliament, would be gazetted before a referendum was held in a month’s time. If all goes according to plan, a referendum will be held September this year.