- Last Updated on 29 October 2012
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The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition held a talk show on constitutional reform in Masvingo on Thursday 25 October 2012. The talk show was a Post-Second All Stakeholders Conference platform for feedback from the people leading the process (the COPAC Chairpersons) and selected delegates from civil society that participated at the conference. The talk show was attended by over 355 participants (257 males and 98 females) from across the political divide in an environment characterised by peace and tolerance of diverging views.
The panel comprised of Hon Douglas Mwonzora (COPAC -Co-Chair) , Hon Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (COPAC Co-Chair), Mr Qhubani Moyo Director of Policy Coordination and Research for the MDC, Mr Okay Machisa Chairperson of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Mrs Virginia Muwanigwa Chairperson of the Women's Coalition and Mr Takavafira Zhou the president of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ).
Hon Mwonzora in his opening remarks at the talk show said ,as COPAC, they had the mandate to call the second all stake holders once they had agreed on a draft. Mwonzora said:
"The objective of the Second All stakeholders Constitutional Conference was first, to give a report of the progress of the constitution making process, from where we started till we finally had a Draft Constitution, secondly to table the COPAC Draft before the stake holders as per the dictates of Article VI of the Global Political Agreement GPA, and thirdly to allow people to go through the draft and make recommendations for improvement. €
Hon Mwonzora commended the people of Zimbabwe for having conducted the conference in a peacefully and accepting the draft since COPAC did not receive a recommendation to throw away the draft.
"Those who spoke according to my own view, and I am sure Hon Mangwana will agree with me, spoke clearly and freely pointed out what they wanted removed and gave the recommendations. I can give an example on youth rights which according to the draft are contained under in the National Objectives but are not in Chapter 4 on the Bill of rights. That issue had no disagreements hence it is indeed going to be placed there €, Hon Mwonzora added.
During deliberations Mr Qhubani Moyo of the MDC said they boycotted the opening ceremony of the Second All Stakeholders Conference because President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were in violation of the SADC Maputo resolution that Professor Welshman Ncube is the legitimate leader of the MDC and Principal in the inclusive government. Mr Moyo further said the opening ceremony was just a political formality hence they decided to boycott it and participate in Chapter discussions instead, which was the key business of the day. Mr Moyo also took the opportunity to warn Morgan Tsvangirai that he must be weary of the "Mugabe-Mutambara € relationship which he said led to the smuggling of Mutambara into the program despite earlier indications that he was not going to speak after The MDC's objections. My Moyo said they had opted for Vice President Mujuru instead; it was therefore "With great shock and surprise that they learnt that Professor Mutambara was to speak at the conference, a move that we thought could confuse delegates €.
Hon Mangwana said there has been disagreements which have always been there for instance on the president some prefer executive President while some prefer titular president. Hon Mangwana said:
"The president is elected by all the people and he represents the people and therefore should have executive authority and he should be able to fire cabinet since he is the one who appoints cabinet, why should you not give executive power to a person that millions of people have trusted to lead them €
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Chairperson Mr Okay Machisa (pictured above) said the Draft Constitution signals a new dispensation in Zimbabwe. He said
" ..analyses of drafts from the region and beyond have proved beyond reasonable doubt that the draft is much better that the Lancaster House Constitution. It should be the task of those who have read and understood the draft to educate fellow Zimbabweans on the draft and why it should become law. ..there have been efforts by the dark forces of evil to derail the current process but the people of Zimbabwe have been resolute. It is time to save the draft and everyone should be singing the motto: Save the Draft €.
Mr Takavafira Zhou told the participants at the talk show that he attended the conference and took part in discussions on the civil service and that he was disappointed that the current Draft does not allow collective bargaining and instead the salaries of civil servants are "fixed € by the commission. In response Hon Mwonzora said the draft should not be read sentence by sentence in isolation but rather through linking various sections of the constitution. He said elsewhere in the draft, every citizen has a right to participate in collective bargaining, picketing and as such civil servants also have these rights.
Mrs Muwanigwa, commenting on peaceful 2nd All Stakeholders Conference, said, as women, one of their fears in attending the conference was the possibility of the recurrence of the violence that characterised the 1st All Stakeholders Conference.
"on arrival with my colleague we decided to first check all entrance and exit points and we decided not to sit too far from the exit. This was because of the chaotic scenes we witnessed at the first all stakeholders conference. € Muwanigwa said.
Mrs Muwanigwa also commended the peaceful conduct of the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference and encouraged Zimbabweans to be peaceful as we get closer to the referendum and elections. She threw her weight behind the draft and said as women, including leaders from across the political divide, they have agreed that the draft captures what they recommended during the outreach process. She said;
"We are not going back as women, after analysis of the Draft we are not going back to the Lancaster House Constitution. We highlighted our concerns to the conference and hope the final draft will in cooperate our input from the second All Stake Holders Conference.... going forward as the Women Coalition, we would be standing in forefront for all women to make sure that women are aware of the provisions of the Draft and vote YES at the referendum €