The parliamentary select committee (COPAC) leading the crafting the crafting of the new constitution is facing an uphill task of preventing violence and chaotic behaviour of delegates during the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference as witnessed during the first conference in July 2009.
ZANU-PF COPAC co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said the committee has been forced to review downwards the number of delegates who are going to attend the conference from 2000. He said they are yet to come up with a new figure which would make delegates manageable.
Speaking to Radio Dialogue on Wednesday, Mangwana said they are also working on perfecting the accreditation of delegates as it was disorganised during the first conference.
However, MDC-T COPAC co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora said the downward revision of the delegates has been triggered by budgetary constraints as COPAC has outstanding bills from the outreach exercise carried out in 2010.
He said the executive arm of government and political parties have to be engaged in tackling possible disruptions of the conference.
“We know the political parties who will unleash violence, they are known and they also know themselves so we are trying to avoid violence,” Mwonzora said, “This conference is going to be attended by observers from SADC region, so we need to behave so that we do not confirm that there are disgraceful characters in our country.”
Dumisani Mpofu of Masakhaneni Trust who participated in the First All Stakeholders Conference as a member of the civic society was pessimistic about violence being prevented as he believes the chaos during the first meeting was well choreographed by ZANU PF.
He says security personnel ushering delegates made sure that ZANU PF sponsored elements were allocated space closer to the dignitaries who included the speaker of Parliament and others members of the select committee so that they could easily disrupt the process by pelting them with water bottles. Mpofu says nothing can stop them from arranging the same antics.
Members of the civic society and representatives of the two MDC formations were confined to the upper auditorium away from the dignitaries.
“The only thing we could do was to shout and when we were shouting it was as if we were joining them,” Mpofu said.
“As for this second conference we should be prepared for more confusion unless SADC takes a tough stance,” he told Radio Dialogue. “The MDCs and civic society should take it upon themselves to push for SADC to be very clear on the possibilities of violence taking place.”
Political parties are expected to contribute 30% of the delegates in the conference whilst the rest should come from civic society.
The Second All Stakeholders’ Conference is aimed at reviewing the draft to check if its principles accord with what the outreach teams gathered from the people. Mwonzora said not much is going to be changed but there is only room for proposals on changes.
Douglas Mwonzora speaks on the conference preps[podcast]http://www.radiodialogue.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Douglas-Mwonzora.mp3[/podcast]