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Zim civic society commended for autonomy in Copac process

African human rights and constitutional activists have commended the Zimbabwean civic society organizations for fighting for their autonomy in the constitution making process. The Activists, Cyprian Nyamwamu of Kenya and McDonald Chipenzi of Zambia were speaking at the Civil Society Leaders Indaba on Constitutional Reform which took place at Pandhari Lodge in Harare from Thursday 18th - Friday 19th October 2012 organized by the Civic Society Coordinating Mechanism on the Constitution making process which is jointly led by apex organizations Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and Nango.

Speaking on the first day of the Indaba, the two activists Cyprian urged civic society to remain autonomous and resolute saying this would give civic society in the country more influence as Zimbabwe moves towards the last critical stages of the protracted constitution making process.

 

"Discourse on constitutions is never neutral, but located within the ambit of political and socio-economic forces of the day. However there is need for civic society of Zimbabwe to safeguard its autonomy to be an effective stakeholder €, said Mr Cyprian Nyamwamu from Kenya. He also added that civic society should put in place self disciplining mechanisms to raise the moral bar. Mr Macdonald Chipenzi from Zambia observed "that for a constitution to be durable, people must own the process €, urging local civic society to safeguard its space and power to influence.

 

The activists  also shared their  experiences in the  constitution making process in their respective countries  revealing that their two countries had witnessed many attempts towards coming up with a new charter but had at times  flopped due to unwieldy political interference. Cyprian Nyamwamu informed the gathering that he was aware that Zanu-PF had wanted to overturn the Copac draft by introducing  266 new proposed amendments to the 18th of July COPAC Draft at the Second All stakeholders Conference. He also castigated the attempt by political parties to invite civic society participants to the Second All Stakeholders Conference through political parties saying it was not good for democracy.

 

Over 250 Civil society leaders working in various sectors across the country converged at Pandhari Lodge on the eve of the Second All Stakeholders Conference to take stock of process and content issues of the Copac-led constitutional reform process at a two day event themed "Our Country, Our Input, Our Constitution €. The Indaba was in preparation for the Second All Stakeholders Conference where a declaration was drafted and further submitted to COPAC for consideration.

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