Draft constitution in vicinity: Copac

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The constitution-making process is at the report writing stage, which is expected to be complete in two weeks, before the drafting phase.

Copac co-chairman Edward Mkhosi (MDC) on Wednesday confirmed that Copac, was currently going through district and provincial reports so as to incorporate them into the national report. It is the national report that will be handed over to the drafters.

“We will give eight days for the compilation of the reports before they are handed over to drafters to begin working on the constitutional draft,” Mkhosi said.

He said the contentious issue of whether civic society members and the media would be allowed to observe the drafting process was yet to be discussed by the Copac management committee.

“We are still to sit down with the management committee to discuss how civic society can come in during drafting. However, we feel that drafters should not be interfered with,” said Mkhosi.

He said there was no reason for civic society to worry as the three drafters chosen were perceived to be neutral and each political party would also be sending five lawyers to second the three during the drafting stage.

Civic society organisations such as the Zimbabwe Peace Project, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the Independent Constitution Monitoring Project recently expressed concern at their barring from observing the drafting stage, saying it raised fears of lack of transparency in the process.

The drafting team comprises of Justice Moses Chinhengo, a judge at the Botswana High Court, former judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe Priscilla Madzonga and Brian Crozier, a former legal drafter in the Attorney-General’s Office who is also a legal practitioner in Harare.

The three were members of the drafting committee of the Chidyausiku Commission in 1999, which was however rejected during the February 2000 referendum.

Efforts to get comments from other Copac co-chairpersons Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) and Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) were fruitless as they were reportedly out of the country.