Bulawayo-based civic society groups have urged the constitution-making body, Copac, to guard against the outbreak of political violence at the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference slated for Harare next month.
Speaking to NewsDay in separate interviews yesterday, the groups said Copac should avoid a repeat of the skirmishes that rocked the first conference held in the capital in July 2009.
Godwin Phiri, regional chairperson of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, said violence was likely to break out given the political tension surrounding the constitution-making process.
“We are aware that tensions are high in the country around the constitution-making process,” Phiri said.
“We hope that there will be maturity by all political parties. Based on what happened at the First All-Stakeholders’ Conference, we hope that political parties won’t bring partisan issues into the conference.”
Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda director Effie Ncube warned the process was likely to be marred by mayhem given the level of intolerance displayed by political parties during the outreach and drafting processes.
“From the fact that the conference will be held in the context of looming elections, there is likely to be political intolerance,” Ncube said.
“Copac will have to engage political parties because it is important to secure their agreement that the event will be a non-
The 2009 stakeholders’ conference was marred by fierce clashes after rival delegates turned the event into a showdown game.
Police drove the delegates out of the venue and cordoned it off, with both Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his old rival President Robert Mugabe calling for their respective parties to close ranks and complete the process.
Copac has announced that it will have provincial conferences in order to reduce the number of people attending the national conference in Harare.
The number of delegates would be reduced to 2 500 from the original 4 000.