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fallacy of the national report
September 14, 2012
failing to convince all right thinking Zimbabweans to back its unilaterally
but badly crafted draft
constitution, Zanu PF has turned its machinery into demanding
a national report.
a national report is a record of everything that happens in a process.
That means in the case of Copac the national report must record
among other things, what happened at the First Stakeholders Conference,
the public outreach, the drafting stage and what will happen or
be resolved at the Second All Stakeholders Conference.
While the other
processes have now taken place, the crucial Second All Stakeholders
Conference has not yet taken place. Any purported publication of
the national report at this stage means that from the report will
be missing this crucial information. By its very nature the Second
All Stakeholders Conference can make far reaching changes to the
draft. This then must never be left out in the national report.
Pushing for the production of the national report at this stage
is pushing for the publication of something incomplete.
Article VI of the GPA
makes it clear that the constitution
making process is a parliamentary process. For that reason the
Speaker of Parliament appointed the Parliamentary Select Committee
on the Constitution (Copac). Among other things the Select Committee
must spearhead the drafting of the constitution and make a report
of same to parliament. Therefore demanding a national report at
this stage is clearly to undermine parliament which is legally mandated
with receiving the report from Copac.
Most well meaning
people in Zanu PF have been misled into believing that the figures
appearing on the national statistical outreach report denote what
the majority and minority views were. In other words where they
see 70% or 30% it means that that is what 70% or 30% of the people
said they wanted. Using that reasoning it becomes easy to tell what
the majority view was on an item.
this is not what the figures mean. The figures appearing in the
national statistical outreach report relate to frequencies. A frequency
is defined as the number of meetings at which an issue was raised.
It does not matter whether such a thing was raised by 500 people
or by one person. frequency therefore does not show to the number
of people who said or supported a particular A superior frequency
does not therefore show that the majority of people supported the
may be apposite. Assuming that there were five meetings in which
two political parties made two opposing ideas. Supposed in the first
four meetings political party A had 500 people at each meeting all
supporting the same but zero people on the fifth meeting. The frequency
of the idea supported by these 2000 people be 4/5 or 80%. Assuming
on the other hand that the other political party (B) had only one
person at each of all the five meetings pushing for a different
point, the frequency of the issue supported by five people would
be 100%. And 100% is a superior frequency to the 80% which however
was supported by 2000 people. This Is clearly ridiculous.
For the foregoing
reasons figures without explanation as to what they mean are basically
meaningless and misleading.
However, more important is the fact that a submission made by the
people is as important as the circumstances under which it was said.
Illustrated simply, a submission made at gun point should not carry
the same weight as a submission made in full freedom. Thus where
violence and intimidation were used the submissions made have to
be taken with caution. While Zanu PF has argued for the production
of figures, it did not clamour for the production of videos which
show how the meetings were carried out which would tend to show
whether submissions were freely made or not.
the information that was used to draft the constitution was extracted
from the national statistical outreach report by fifteen legal experts
drawn equally from the political parties in the GPA. The list of
these issues was prepared and signed to by the political parties.
Therefore, the constitution was drawn from the national data from
outreach and augmented by world best practices where there were
gaps in the data from outreach.
for the national report at this stage are premature, misplaced and
meant to mislead the people Further, the reliance of figures in
the national statistical outreach report without any accompanying
information on the atmosphere of the meetings is basically meaningless.
It is being resorted to by people fetching for reasons to discredit
the Second All Stakeholders Conference, Copac will make available
all information that will enable the conference to discharge the
task at hand. Regrettably that information will not be the national
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