COPAC takes a positive step towards a people centered 2nd all stakeholders' conference

As part of civil society's lobby to have a democratic and transparent 2nd all stakeholders' conference, scheduled for the 4th to the 6th of October 2012, more than 10 civil society organizations met with the COPAC Co-chairperson Hon Douglas Mwonzora on 24 September at the Crisis Coalition Offices. Hon. Mwonzora informed civil society leaders that COPAC haD revisited the issue of delegates to attend the second all stakeholders' conference among other critical issues.

The meeting was a response to civil society's earlier statements where civil society threatened to pull out of the 2nd All Stakeholders' Conference if their concerns were not taken on board by COPAC. In the meeting, Hon. Mwonzora told civil society leaders that after extensive deliberations on Friday, 21 September, COPAC reviewed its position and resolved the following:

1)         The number of delegates was scaled down from the initial 2000 to 1100 delegates. Of the 1100, 246 delegates will come from political parties, 284 from Parliament and 571 delegates from civil society.

2)         An interim national statistical report will   be submitted at the 2nd All stakeholders' Conference and five different documents with views from the national outreach, Diaspora, institutions, children and people living with disabilities

3)          The 2nd All Stakeholders' Conference will not be a drafting conference but will focus on comments and recommendations on the draft from the stakeholders which will be incorporated into a report for COPAC's consideration.

4)         Civil society, diplomats, the judiciary, local and international media, and all other interested stakeholders will be allowed to observe the process

5)         Other documents to be tabled at the 2nd all stakeholders Conference will be a list of constitutional principles used by COPAC and the gap filling document on international best practice.


Civil society reiterated the need for a safe space for women participation at the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference. Representatives from the women's Coalition implored COPAC to ensure equal representation of women at the stakeholders' conference. Hon. Mwonzora assured the leaders that the delegates matrix took the issue of gender seriously and the issue had been dealt with effectively.

At the end of the meeting civil society leaders expressed satisfaction and hope in the way COPAC had addressed civil society concerns. "We would like to commend COPAC for urgently addressing our concerns. However, we will continue to lobby to ensure that the views of civil society effectively inform the constitution making process. We will ensure that even beyond the 2nd all stakeholders' conference the whole national process is placed under the microscopic eye to avoid the manipulation of the process for partisan interests € said the Director of Crisis Coalition, Mr. McDonald Lewanika.

The 2nd All Stakeholders' Conference is expected to take place during the first week of October. According to the GPA, the consolidated COPAC draft, a product of the 2nd all stakeholders Conference will be tabled in parliament for further scrutiny before it is presented to the principals for the promulgation of the referendum.

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