Civic society organisations under the National Association for Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition are threatening to pull out of the constitution Second All Stakeholders’ Conference further casting doubt on the success of the process.
The development follows an urgent High Court application by Harare businessman Danny Musukuma opposing the holding of the conference from October 21-23. The High Court was on Thursday evening yet to decide on the matter.
Leaders of civic society met in Harare on Thursday to come up with a consolidated position ahead of the conference but ended up in a stalemate over participation saying they felt shortchanged by COPAC which requires 150 members of the civic bodies to be independently incorporated into the meeting without involvement of political parties.
Spokesperson of the Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe who is also director of Bulawayo Agenda Thabani Nyoni told Radio Dialogue that COPAC had agreed to invite the civil society as an independent entity but later reneged saying most members of the civil society had been incorporated through political parties.
“The possible action is committing not to participate in the all stakeholders meeting should our issues not be addressed,” Nyoni said.
A participant in the meeting told Radio Dialogue that some members of the civic society wanted to call for an immediate press briefing announcing withdrawal of civic bodies from the constitutional indaba whilst others argued that the conference is strategic and cannot be boycotted.
Contacted for comment, COPAC co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana was defiant saying there would be no further engagement with members of the civil society. He accused the NANGO and Crisis Coalition of “believing that they are the only civic society organisations in Zimbabwe.”
Mangwana said some civil society organisations have already been accredited as they were invited through political parties. He said the number of the civil society delegates was increased from around 500 to 600.
Mangwana said COPAC is sticking to earlier arrangements that were made during the First All Stakeholders Conference. He also said should the civil bodies pull out as they threaten to, this would not affect the conference in any way.
“That (snubbing) is their democratic right, no one is being forced to participate in this process,” Mangwana said.
Paul Munyaradzi Mangwana interview[podcast]http://www.radiodialogue.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Mangwana-Paul.mp3[/podcast]
Thabani Nyoni interview[podcast]http://www.radiodialogue.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Thabani-Nyoni2.mp3[/podcast]