Copac conference set to roll
Copac chairpersons yesterday said they were hopeful the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference would culminate in the finalisation of the writing of the country’s supreme law.
About 1 200 delegates drawn from different political parties and the civic organisations are attending the conference at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).
The conference ends tomorrow.
Millions of Zimbabweans will be eagerly waiting for the outcome of the conference, which should pave the way for the referendum and general elections scheduled for next year.
In separate interviews, Copac co-chairpersons said preparations for the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference had gone on well and the committee was last night expected to hold its final meeting to get reports from different organising committees.
Co-chair Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana from Zanu-PF said the committee was ready to take delegates through the draft Constitution.
“Most delegates have arrived and are checking in at the different hotels where they are booked. I cannot confirm figures of delegates who have arrived for now because they are still arriving and maybe I can have them in the evening after our meeting.
We are meeting as a committee this evening to get reports from the organising committees. Everything has gone on well and we are ready for the start of the conference,” said Cde Mangwana.
He said the police had assured the nation of sufficient security during and after the all stakeholders’ conference.
He said the official opening, where President Mugabe would deliver the keynote address, would be at 10am.
“The official opening will be around midmorning followed by a plenary session where Copac would walk delegates through the draft Constitution until lunch time,” Cde Mangwana said.
He said in the afternoon delegates would go into groups to discuss each chapter of the draft Constitution and reconvene at 5pm when each group would report back.
“We will get reports from each group starting at 5pm and that will go on until Tuesday morning. We hope to be through by 10am on Tuesday so that delegates have time to travel back to their different destinations,” he said.
Mr Douglas Mwonzora, the other Copac co-chairperson from MDC-T said accreditation of delegates had been completed and more than two thirds of them had arrived yesterday.
“Preparations have gone on very well and we are looking forward to a successful All Stakeholders’ Conference. We will be holding our final meeting and hope delegates are also geared for the two-day conference,” he said.
Mr Edward Mkhosi from MDC also echoed his counterparts’ sentiments adding that they expected a successful conference.
“We are going to get reports from sub committees in the evening. Delegates are still arriving and the morale seems to be high among the delegates,” he said.
On Friday, Copac came up with a code of conduct to be signed by delegates. The code holds delegates accountable for their conduct during the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference. It defines rules to be observed by the delegates for the constitution-making body to be able to maintain peace and order.
After the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference the draft will be tabled before Parliament before being taken for a referendum, which is set to pave way for general elections scheduled for next year.
President Mugabe has said the next elections were likely to be held at the end of March.
Meanwhile, our Harare bureau reports that Copac national coordinator, Mr Gift Marunda yesterday said there were logistical challenges facing the successful holding of the conference.
“We are still trying to sort out accommodation for delegates, while there are also challenges with availability of necessary documentation,” said Mr Marunda.
“We are going to give delegates three voluminous documents which are the National Statistical Report version one and two and a report of the drafting instruments.
“Printflow is working flat out to complete the printing. You may also need to appreciate the magnitude of work at hand. Hopefully, all documents will be available by the time discussions start.”
Mr Marunda said most hotels booked for delegates were still occupied by those attending the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair, which ended in Harare yesterday.
“For that reason, our ability to move all our delegates to the venues of choice may be affected,” said Mr Marunda.
“We are trying to work with different hotels to see if they can accommodate the delegates. As you may be aware, we have had last minute additions.”
Mr Marunda said of the over 1 300 delegates, Copac was going to accommodate about 900 from outside Harare, while those from the capital will be coming from home.
He said President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai would address the delegates while it was not yet clear by last night who would join them between Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and MDC leader, Professor Welshman Ncube.
At the Harare International Conference Centre where the conference will be held, the situation was quiet with no Copac workers in sight by yesterday evening.
The venue was expected to have been decorated with Copac banners.
Zanu-PF said its condition for the conference was that discussions should be premised on the National Statistical Report.
This comes against a background where the MDC formations are saying the draft constitution was drafted using the right methods.
“We, as a party, believe in the supremacy of the people of Zimbabwe which must always be upheld, to do otherwise would be an act of betrayal and a display of contempt of the people,” said Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo yesterday.
The workshop for the Zanu-PF delegates was opened by party National Chairman, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, and chaired by Secretary for Administration, Cde Didymus Mutasa. — Chronicle Reporter/Harare Bureau