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Allow observers: Copac urged

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ZZZICOMP, an umbrella body for human rights-aligned civic society organisations has appealed to Copac to allow observers during the drafting stage of the country’s supreme law.

The call came following reports Copac would not allow them to observe the process, a development civic society groups described as a slap in the face of democratic practice.

The body comprises Independent and Constitution Monitoring Project, Zimbabwe Peace Project, Zimbabwe Election Support Network and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

“It’s worrying that Copac will not avail the outreach process reports to civic society or the public, which will make it difficult for organisations like ZZZICOMP to compare ultimate product and benchmark it with the views in the national report,” said the umbrella body in a statement.

The body appealed to Copac to increase confidence-building measures in the process by opening up the process to public scrutiny.

“We insist on greater transparency and continue to pressure for the availability of information, monitoring of the drafting stage and other subsequent events leading to the referendum.”

Copac deputy co-chairperson, Monica Mutsvangwa, dismissed calls by ZZZICOMP to observe saying the draft was “an internal document”. Copac finished compiling the preliminary district and provincial reports of the draft constitution last week. A draft report is expected to be presented to Parliament on October 15 with a referendum on January 15 2012.

Copac communications committee chairperson, Jessie Majome, told journalists last week the three drafters appointed will be supported by a team and will be followed by a Second All-Stakeholders Conference.

“We estimate that once we start drafting, it will take us 35 days. Once the draft constitution is ready, it will be available in English and vernacular languages,” she said.

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