13 January 2012

Zimbabwe: Chaos At Copac Briefing

A COPAC stakeholders' briefing ended in disarray yesterday after war veterans and civic organisations rejected a progress report presented by the co-chairpersons.

Copac spokesperson Jessie Majome prematurely called off the meeting after a war of words erupted between stakeholders and the co-chairpersons.

The stakeholders were arguing that the progress report showed that Copac had not captured the views of the people.

Chaos began during the question-and-answer segment when Copac co-chairperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) had finished reading out the Copac statement.

War vets accused the Copac team that included co-chair Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana and Mr Rejoice Ngwenya of tampering with the public's views.

They challenged them to produce an authentic national report.

The war vets said raw data in the national report would help them to "fairly" judge the draft against the people's views.

They argued that failure to furnish them with the national report would "license" the drafters to abuse the people's trust and hold the nation in contempt.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association representative Cde Denias Dzedze accused the Copac team of fraud, describing them as "brainless people".

"You have to know that for you to be where you are today it is because of our sacrifices. We want to see the national report now for us to compare what people said with your draft, otherwise you are putting your own views," he said.

Cde Dzedze said the Copac team was disregarding peoples' views adding, "this is fraud at its highest level. Maitiro enyu anoita kuti tikubvondorei izvezvi because hamuna njere uye hamufunge mese muri vashanu kumberi kwedu (Your conduct forces us to be hard on you because you have no brains and you don't think all the five of you leading the process)."

Cde Mangwana responded: "We have not come for war here. Musativhunditsire, musatityisidzire nekuti tinoremekedzwawo kwatinobva. Hazvinaki kutituka nekutivhundutsira (Do not intimidate us. It's not good to insult us because we are also honourable and we were chosen by our respective political parties to represent you.)

"The national report has been delayed, it's a fact, but we expect it out by next week. We will never hide it because it contains the people's views."

Others said the Copac team was delaying because some political parties in the inclusive Government were afraid of elections.

Said ZNLWVA Harare Province secretary-general Cde Claudius Mutero: "The constitution which was supposed to be people-driven has now been hijacked by foreign agencies using the MDC formations.

"We wonder why you are still giving excuses. Is it because of the allowances you are getting or because some of you are afraid of elections? You are taking this programme as a money spinning venture and this has to stop."

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators representative Mr Charles Ndawana said divisions in Copac were rife with the three co-chairperson giving conflicting statements in most cases.

"You pretend to be united yet there are differences, " he said.

"You give conflicting statements on the issue of the national report and how the views of the people were captured and recorded. It means we are going nowhere."

The war vets also exchanged harsh words with representatives of the civic organisations before some of them walked out of the briefing.

Mr Mwonzora said the draft would be completed by month end.

He said four chapters had been submitted to the Select Committee for review.

"The Select Committee, in line with its terms of reference accorded by Article V1 of the GPA, has completed the process of identifying and filling the gaps existing in the information gathered during the outreach..."

He said the drafters were following instructions from the Select Committee.

"The drafting process shall be iterative and interactive to allow the parties to achieve consensus," he said.

"The select Committee for the meantime is busy reviewing the preliminary four drafts which are merely works in progress and doing further research where this is necessary..."

The drafters resumed the drafting this week after it had been suspended because of disagreements between political parties.

Zanu-PF accused the drafters of failing to use information gathered from the outreach programme.

Some of the issues ignored include land, citizenship and minority rights.

Sources said the majority of people who took part in the outreach said they did not want dual citizenship and castigated homosexuality.

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