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‘Grandstanding contaminates Copac debate’

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Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) say they did not fully participate at the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference as it was “too contaminated by political parties’ contestations”.
Report by Khanyile Mlotshwa, Staff Reporter

Addressing a public meeting organised by the Bulawayo Agenda on Thursday evening, the western region chairman of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango), Effie Ncube, said as CSOs, they wanted a constitution that will change, “our lives here in Zimbabwe”.

“However, I don’t think we were able to do our work (at the stakeholders’ conference) unrestricted by the positions of the political parties,” he said.

“There were three co-chairs and no fourth co-chair representing the CSOs. It was clear it’s a political parties’ process. In terms of deliberations, there were some of us who were able to raise issues, but it was clear the political parties’ positions were overbearing in the whole process.”

Ncube said at the First All-Stakeholders’ conference, they were invited as individual CSOs by Parliament, but the arrangement changed this time around.

“We were asked to participate through political parties. It was at the last minute, after we had negotiated with Copac, that we were given a slot. But what must be understood is that Copac has its own definition of CSOs. The definition of Copac is that if you don’t hold a certain position in a political party, then you are a CSO. ”

Civic Society Organisations nearly boycotted the stakeholders’ conference as they felt Copac was undermining them by inviting them through political parties.

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