Harare, November 14, 2011
COPAC FINALIZES PLANS FOR DRAFTING
Harare – 14 November, 2011 - The Constitution Select Committee, COPAC, recently concluded a workshop in Masvingo on preparations for the drafting phase which is scheduled to commence soon. Following the completion of the writing of a national report on the people’s submissions from outreach, the Committee will now preoccupy itself with the actual drafting of a new constitution for Zimbabwe.
The drafting workshop, also attended by the drafting team that will be supporting the three principal drafters, sought to discuss how the drafting exercise would be carried out. During the workshop, constitutional issues as well as constitutional principles were identified. It is the constitutional issues that provide the basis on which to develop a framework for drafting.
Participants at the process had the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others who went through the process of constitution-making. It was very clear from the workshop that the data that came from outreach reflects the aspirations, fears and concerns of the people. Even though the people might not have spoken in a constitutional manner, most of the constitutional issues can be identified in the data contained in the national report that was compiled on the submissions that came from the people.
Discussing and adopting a framework for drafting was one of the key things that the Masvingo workshop finalized. It highlighted the fact that it is the framework that provides the broad architecture and structure of the constitution. While the new Zimbabwean constitution will be unique in its own ways, the workshop discussed international best practice in constitution-making which will assist the drafters of the new constitution. The framework, therefore, would be informed by the narrative report, the political vision as well as the international best practice.
By the time the workshop ended, participants had a clear appreciation of the actual chapters of the constitution. They had insight on what certain sections of the draft constitution, for instance, the Preamble, the Founding Principles and the Bill of Rights, would contain.
Following the successful holding of the workshop in Masvingo, another workshop has since been held in Harare to tighten all loose ends in relation to preparations for drafting. As a follow-up exercise to the work done in Masvingo, the Harare workshop went a step further by identifying and agreeing those issues that would go into the constitution and those that would not.
The drafting process will take 35 days from the day of commencement. The principal drafters will be Justice Moses Chinhengo, Mrs Priscilla Madzonga and Mr Brian Crozier. They will be assisted by a technical team of 17 people who have been chosen on the basis of their knowledge of the process. The whole exercise will be overseen by the Select Committee.
Once the draft is in place, it will be presented to a Second All Stakeholders Conference to give stakeholders an opportunity to appreciate the contents of the new draft. After this it will be debated in Parliament after which people will be given an opportunity to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for the new draft constitution.
As this is an important national exercise, COPAC is appealing to all Zimbabweans in their individual or collective capacity, to support the constitution-making process. The constitution is for posterity and for the protection of us all; it is in our best interest to draft a constitution for the future.
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