Constitution indaba will be a circus – ZCTU

The Parliamentary Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) had initially slated the second all-stakeholders indaba for 4-6 October but on Tuesday moved it to anytime between 15 and 21 October, citing logistical problems.
It is understood the Ministry of Finance is battling to raise US$1, 2 million needed to host the conference expected to be attended by about 2000 delegates drawn from ZANU-PF, the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the civil society.
But Japhet Moyo, the secretary general of the ZCTU, said on Wednesday the labour body was wary over the manner in which the second ‘all’ stakeholders conference on the draft Constitution was being organized.
Moyo said the ZCTU was of a strong conviction that the authorities should skip the so-called second stakeholders’ conference and subject the COPAC draft document to a referendum and let the people decide whether or not it is what they want.
“There is nothing ‘all’ or ‘inclusive’ about the conference if media reports are anything to go by especially with the planned cosmetic inclusion of civic society groups. Civic society organizations are independent entities that should attend the conference representing their own constituencies and not as appendages of political parties.
In our view, if this conference succeeds, it should not allow the revisiting or amendment of the draft document,” he said.
The ZCTU boss said the labour body has always taken issue with Article 6.1 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that excludes other political players besides the three signatories to the GPA from the constitutional making process. He charged that other players such as civic groups are reduced to mere spectators and ‘assistants’.
Moyo noted that the GPA did not have terms of reference for the stakeholders’ conference so no one was really clear what the conference is all about.
“The stakeholders’ conference should not be allowed to give itself
powers that have not been defined by the GPA. COPAC politically
negotiated people’s views to come up with the draft hence only the
‘people’ can decide in a referendum whether they accept the draft
document or not. It is also sad that plundering and greed has also
taken centre stage as the prior processes were more of a money-making
venture than serious business. In any case, there are no guarantees
that there will be no violence as happened with the first all
stakeholders’ conference. Innocent people have been assaulted before
despite police presence even in the Parliament of Zimbabwe people have
been violently attacked,” Moyo said, adding that the draft document
should be subjected to a referendum because political parties were
represented during negotiations for the draft document.
“We do not want a situation where the political parties also dominate
this process in the disguise of a second stakeholders’ conference. Or
is it just another gathering to pamper political party faithfuls and
blow away thousands of dollars?”