CIVIL Society Organisations (CSOs) last week petitioned the Sadc facilitator to Zimbabwe crisis, South Africa President Jacob Zuma over their limited participation at the Copac Second all-Stakeholders’ conference which starts tomorrow.
Report by Jennifer Dube
The CSOs accused Copac of sidelining them and only inviting organisations aligned to political parties in the unity government.
“Four days away from this important national process, the over 150 organisations gathered at our Indaba are concerned that despite having played a critical role in supporting the constitution- making process, their participation in their own right remains limited,” said the CSOs in a statement to Zuma.
The organisations said throughout the entire constitution-making process, there had been minimum effort to ensure that the process was truly inclusive of Zimbabweans.
The CSOs said they submitted a list of 402 names as part of meeting a 571 delegates quota they had been promised by Copac.
They told Zuma that they had received no official response from Copac, save for phone calls suggesting only 90 of their delegates had been invited as representatives of political parties.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) spokesperson Thabani Nyoni yesterday said they had not yet received a response from Zuma’s office.
“Copac came to engage us at our conference yesterday [Friday] and assured us that a special arrangement will be made for our delegates who will go to the conference to be registered and participate,” Nyoni said.
“They also said we can audit their list of participants to assess if they adhered to the commitment that 70% of the delegates will be civil society representatives and 30% will be political representatives.”
But Copac co-chairperson Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) said the constitution committee would not play to the whims of the disgruntled CSOs.
“We cannot do what they want,” Mangwana said. “It is a lie that we promised to give them our list. I do not agree with that because they are not our managers. We do not report to them.
“Nango and Crisis Coalition are not CSO managers as they constitute only 2% of civic society in Zimbabwe.”
Mangwana said Copac had been generous enough to agree to accredit 150 representatives from the disgruntled CSOs.