The Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) led constitution making process is at a critical stage, where thematic committees are analysing and organising data collected from close to 5 000 public meetings held countrywide.
After the data analysis the thematic committees are scheduled to make recommendations to a team of drafters, who are supposed to be independent experts agreed to by the coalition government.
In a letter to COPAC joint chairpersons namely Munyaradzi Mangwana of ZANU (PF), Douglas Mwonzora of the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) and Edward Mkhosi of the smaller faction of the MDC, the Zimbabwe Independent Constitution Monitoring Project (ZZZICOMP), comprising of influential rights group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Zimbabwe Election Support Network and Zimbabwe Peace Project said they would want to fulfil their mandate of monitoring the crafting of a new governance charter for the country.
“As you are aware, Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Zimbabwe Peace Project has been independently monitoring the ongoing Article VI constitution-making process under the banner of ZZZICOMP, and with assistance and accreditation from COPAC. We write to hereby formally advise that ZZZICOMP wishes to continue with its mandate by monitoring the work of the Thematic Committees. In this regard, we would be grateful if you could consider facilitating our request and ensuring that our monitors are permitted to access the 17 thematic committees’ venues. Our representatives will observe their work and will not contribute and/ or interfere in any manner in the work of the Committees.” The letter was jointly signed by ZLHR executive director Irene Petras, ZESN director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava and ZPP director Jestina Mukoko.
ZZZICOMP asked for permission to access copies of relevant documentation on the methodology of the thematic committees and their terms of reference.
ZZZICOMP has been monitoring the constitution making process since it commenced last year. The tripartite body says monitoring the government-led constitution making process will enable the body to evaluate whether the exercise was democratic and the outcome a true reflection of the people’s wishes.