- Last Updated on 20 October 2012
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We, Civil Society Organisations, meeting under the banner of the Constitutional Coordination Mechanism, at a Civil Society Leaders Conference, at Pandhari Lodge from the 18th - 19th of October, have deliberated on the COPAC Draft Constitution and plans for the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference, with the view of coming up with coordinated and common positions on the conference and coming up with minimum standards, building consensus, and agreeing on key issues, strategies and of areas of engagement with COPAC.
NOTING - The value and importance of a constitution to our country, wherein the country is faced with the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference, and asserting our devotion to the finalisation of the constitution making process as captured by our conference theme "OUR COUNTRY, OUR INPUT, OUR CONSTITUTION €
AWARE - of our diversity as Civil Society organisations and the different approaches within CSOs with regards the process, but affirming our commitment to a coordinated and common approach
MINDFUL - Of the absence of a clear defined framework for CSOs participation in the Constitution making Process generally, and the confusion around same on the 2nd Stakeholders Conference specifically,
Mindful of the continued inflexibility of political parties represented in the COPAC process, and the rebuffed moves by COPAC and Political parties to accredit Civil Society Delegates and Monitors to the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference under the auspices of Political Parties,
Acknowledging - The progressive nature of the draft in terms of the human rights bill and the capability of the draft to promote and protect human rights through judicial independence, separation of powers, recognition of the rule of law
REALISING - That our lived realities as citizens of Zimbabwe are different, that a constitution should speak to these lived realities, and noting that the draft in its current form has taken giant steps in addressing such through the participation of women, protection of women's rights,
COGNISANT - Of the inclusion of economic and social rights in the draft and that these rights can impact positively on the quality of life of citizens through the justiceability of such
Further, make the following resolutions:
1. That the draft, in its current form, is a progressive document that has more positives than negatives, and can be acceptable in comparison with the Lancaster House Constitution.
2. That in-spite of the foregoing, and in noting that it is not a perfect document, we will continue to fight for the drafts improvement at the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference and following process, including after or if it is accepted as the principal law of the country.
3. That in furthering point 1 and 2 above, Civil Society will participate at the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference, but not under the ambit of political parties
4. That as CSOs, we will celebrate our diversity, and will work towards harnessing our diversity for the realisation of a coordinated, common and united approach.
5. That we commit ourselves to our role as genuine players, stakeholders and watch dogs in the affairs of our country, in a non-partisan manner for the national interest of Zimbabwe.
6. That we commit ourselves to the building of a genuine, broad based, seen, felt, heard and inclusive leadership of CSOs in order to facilitate meaningful coordination among ourselves and Zimbabweans on key democratic processes.
7. We Re-affirm our desire for Collective activism and broad based strategies on key democratic processes and issues.
8. We will embark on a massive education campaign, and popularise the Draft Constitution in all indigenous languages, for the benefit of all Zimbabweans, and the promotion of a meaningful national debate on the same.
9. That we continue to be bound by our democratic values and commitment to universalism of human rights in the country
10. That from the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference going forward, we commit to doing all we can to safe guard the gains that have been seen through the Current Draft Constitution, without forgetting our commitment on the other hand, as expressed in 2 above.
WE reiterate that the COPAC draft as currently written is good but not perfect, and deserves the support and defense of well-meaning Zimbabweans.
We state that because of the above, we see the COPAC Draft Constitution, should it receive a yes vote at the Referendum, as a useful document and charter in as far as taking forward an agenda for democratisation and transformation of our country, as well as facilitating a transition to the same.
That because of the foregoing, the completion of the COPAC Process is not the end of the discourse around constitutional reform and by no means closes this chapter, as we strive for change and improvement as a nation.
Find attached the full CommuniquÃ©.