Civic organisations opposed to the Parliamentary Select Committee COPAC draft have dismissed the constitution convention organised by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition as a non event that is being bankrolled by the international community in support of the draft.
Activists who spoke to Radio Dialogue this week said civic society organisations have abandoned their constituencies in order to align themselves with political parties ahead of the second stakeholders conference.
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) spokesperson Madock Chivasa said most civic organisations are being used by the donor community to support the draft charter.
“There is nothing independent about these so called independent organisations because they have allowed themselves to take orders from donors to support the draft constitution, they are not being sincere because we know that they do not believe in what is contained in the current draft,” Chivasa said.
Masakhane Trust director, Dumisani Mpofu said the convention is not likely to have an impact on the second stakeholders conference. Mpofu said the structure of the second stakeholders conference is such that there will be no alterations while the political parties responsible for coming up with the draft will be responsible for looking at the submissions.
“This is the dilemma that civic organisations find themselves in because the MDCs have endorsed the draft and are now reacting to calls by Zanu PF to make changes so they are now pushing civic society organisations to support their calls for no changes at the second stakeholders conference.”
The anti Copac draft activists also accused donors of supporting a constitution that departs from what the people want in the constitution.
“What is being done by donors is not in line with what they are supposed to be supporting because they are now funding these organisations to support the draft charter that we all don’t want,” Chivasa said.
“They are wasting their money because Zimbabweans are watching them and these organisations that are receiving their money. We are not worried about their money.”
Mpofu echoed the NCA sentiments hinting that most civic society organisations under Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition are being driven by financial funding.
“We are developing and adapting to a culture in Zimbabwe that will make organisations very ineffective in the future, a culture of funding alliances which go on to implement things at the expense of their membership, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is membership based but it is implementing programmes that compete with their members,” Mpofu said.
“It looks like the international community has endorsed the draft constitution because the behaviour of the MDC formations leaves us with suspicion that they being backed by international institutions who could be saying we are fed up with the Zimbabwean scenario, lets take the little that we came up with and move forward.”
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is set to bring together representatives from 300 non-governmental organisations for a civic society convention aimed at coming up with a position ahead of the second stakeholders conference. Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director MacDonald Lewanika told Radio Dialogue said they expect to spend between $30 000 and $40 000.
“Everyone has a right to take a position on the draft constitution, they are some people who even before it was written said they were going to be against it, why are those people not being castigated,” Lewanika said.
“Those who have taken time and looked at the draft and think its okay and have decided they want to support, they should be allowed to do that. That is the essence of democracy.”