Bulawayo Bureau — THE Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC has pulled out of the ongoing Copac publicity campaign for the new Constitution citing unequal representation in the publicity teams.
The publicity campaigns for the draft Constitution started on Monday last week and are expected to end this Thursday. MDC secretary-general Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga issued a statement on Saturday announcing that her party was no longer part of the publicity campaigns.
MDC representatives are only allowed to participate in meetings in Bulawayo and Matabeleland South provinces.
"MDC has pulled out of the Copac publicity campaign due to a decision taken by MDC-T's Mr Douglas Mwonzora and Zanu-PF's Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana to exclude MDC from eight of the 10 provinces," read the statement.
Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga alleged that officials from the other parties in the Inclusive Government were using the Copac meetings to attack her party.
"As a result of this, MDC has pulled out from the two provinces where we were allowed to participate," she said.
The party's spokesperson, Mr Nhlanhla Dube, however, said the MDC would hold separate meetings where it would campaign for a "Yes" vote for the constitution.
"The exclusion of our members in Copac teams in other provinces is deliberate and mischievous. As a party we are going to be holding our own separate publicity campaigns and are no longer part of the process. However, we remain committed to urge people to vote yes," said Mr Dube.
He also complained over the shortage of copies of the draft constitution especially the vernacular versions.
Cde Mangwana said he was aware of the issue and said a meeting would be held today to deliberate on the matter. He, however, castigated the MDC leadership for seeking to "arm-twist" the process by threats of pulling out.
"Yes I received a call yesterday (Saturday) from my colleague from MDC, Mr Edward Mkhosi, requesting that we increase their membership in the teams. I told him that we will discuss the issue as a committee on Monday," said Cde Mangwana.
"All along their representation was limited and we wonder where this lawyer called Prof Ncube was and why he is raising it now. We will consider the matter if it is genuine but they should not threaten us. If they want to pull out let them do so after all their number is insignificant."
Mr Mwonzora said the Prof Ncube led-MDC had no case and accused the party of not taking the process seriously.
"The representation in Copac is drawn from Members of Parliament. In this case the MDC only has two, Mr Mkhosi and Mr Believe Gaule. MDC-T and Zanu-PF have nine each.
"They (MDC) have not been equally represented since 2009. What they are asking now is that we add their non-MP members to Copac, which we cannot," said Mr Mwonzora.
"It is unfortunate that they fired most of their MPs and basically they do not have a case. The campaigns are ending in four days time and that shows that they are not serious."
Mr Mkhosi said they will try to resolve the issue at today's meeting.
"The original agreement was that we will have equal representation in the campaign meetings but if consideration is given to Parliamentary representation we have few members.
"I am going to Harare and we are going to discuss that issue with my partners," he said.