15 January 2012

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Steps Up Efforts to Derail Constitution-Making Process

Photo: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton/allAfrica.com
Robert Mugabe.

THE Constitution-making process faces a fresh setback as Zanu PF is stepping up efforts to disrupt the writing of a new constitution using war veterans and war collaborators who are using a combination of force and legal means to stop the process.

These groups are alleging widespread irregularities in the drafting process.

The collaborators and war veterans last Friday turned a media briefing at the Copac offices into a circus, threatening to beat up officials accusing them of distorting views of the people during the outreach programmes.

the Zimbabwe National Liberation War collaborators Association (Ziliwaco), gave Copac a deadline of yesterday to publish the national report, failure of which the organisation would go to court to stop the writing of a new constitution.

"You have not, at any material time, produced and published a national report and yet it is the national report which is the sole and exclusive embodiment of the views of the people," wrote thier lawyers, Guni and Guni, to Copac. "The people need to know whether the drafting is consistent with their views."

Ziliwaco said, although Zimbabweans stated that they did not want dual citizenship, the drafters have allowed dual citizenship.

Copac's three co-chairs, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, Douglas Mwonzora and Edward Mkhosi were given five days within which to produce and publish the national report.

Chairperson of Ziliwaco, Pupurai Togarepi told The Standard yesterday that Copac has failed to comply with its demands; hence the association has no option but to go to court to stop the drafting of a new constitution.

"We are also going to organise massive demonstrations in order to stop this process, which is ignoring the views of the people," he warned.

Mangwana promised that Copac will comply with the demands of Ziliwaco and publish the national report at a date to be announced.

Togarepi said war veterans and war collaborators who disrupted the media briefing were only expressing their disgruntlement and had not been sent by any political party.

War vets, collaborators besiege Copac proceedings

All hell broke loose soon after Mwonzora had finished reading a statement outlining the progress made so far in the drafting of the new charter, with scores of war veterans and collaborators who invaded the media briefing, virtually taking over the question and answer segment.

Journalists were reduced to mere spectators as war veterans hurled insults and bombarded Copac officials with questions and accusation after accusation, while openly showing their support for Zanu PF's position.

Mwonzora, Mangwana and Rejoice Ngwenya, who was standing in for Mkhosi, were threatened with assault after they were accused of "subverting" the wishes of the people.

"We can deal with you right now and stop this constitution-making process," warned a war veteran who identified himself as Dzetse. "Don't think on our behalf. All of you are brainless."

But Mangwana was not amused with Dzetse's threats saying war veterans have no right to intimidate and bully Copac officials.

"We did not come here to fight. You should respect us because you elected us as your representatives," he said.

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