5 March 2013

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF, MDC-T to March On Without MDC

Photo: Parliament of Zimbabwe
Parliament of Zimbabwe

ZANU-PF and MDC-T will go ahead with the Copac publicity campaigns for the draft Constitution without the Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC, Copac co-chairperson Cde Paul Mangwana said yesterday.

MDC announced that it had pulled out of the Copac process arguing that Zanu-PF and MDC-T connived to sideline their party in eight out of the 10 provinces that members of the Select Committee who are Members of Parliament are carrying out publicity campaigns.

Cde Mangwana (Zanu-PF) and his MDC-T counterpart Mr Douglas Mwonzora held a crisis meeting yesterday and resolved to go ahead with the programme.

"The two parties Zanu-PF and MDC-T have decided through us as co-chairpersons that we will proceed with the programme with or without the MDC," said Cde Mangwana.

"We do not consider that the objection is valid and that it's of any consequence. It is our collective decision as Zanu-PF and MDC-T that we go ahead because we cannot manufacture MPs for MDC.

"They are clearly aware that when Copac was set up it was on the basis of representation in Parliament.

"Along the way, they allowed (Senator David) Coltart to pull out. As Copac we are one unit, an indivisible committee of Parliament. When we deployed 23 members we were not looking at their political parties."

He said as co-chairpersons they gave each other provinces that they would supervise.

Cde Mangwana would supervise Mashonaland West, Midlands and Masvingo provinces while Mr Mwonzora supervises Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Manicaland.

Mr Mkhosi was expected to supervise Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces while Cde Mangwana and Mr Mwonzora would supervise Harare as well.

"If Mkhosi decides not to supervise those provinces then Mwonzora and I will have to move in and supervise them. It has always been the trend that they have few numbers in Copac processes based on Parliamentary representation," said Cde Mangwana.

MDC had two members in Copac, Mr Edward Mkhosi and Tsholotsho Senator Mr Believe Gaule, while Khumalo Senator and Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart, pulled out of the process.

Initially, MDC-T had 11 representatives in the Select Committee but two members died while Zanu-PF has 10.

MDC had three representatives and then the chiefs were represented by president of the Chief's Council Chief Fortune Charumbira, which brings the total number of the Select Committee members to 25.

Cde Mangwana dismissed claims by MDC that the two parties were using their Select Committee members to attack the MDC.

He said all the Select Committee members were given a template that was approved by all the parties that they read when conducting the publicity campaigns.

"We were not preaching anything partisan because our members are not saying anything outside the template that we drew together with Mkhosi.

"They are complaining that they are not represented in other provinces, who did they want to be there for them when they do not have MPs?

"MDC-T is not represented in Bulawayo but they have not complained because they know that this is a Parliamentary Committee that is non-partisan. A Parliament committee has nothing to do with political parties," said Cde Mangwana.

MDC secretary-general Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga yesterday said her party was not going to engage the two parties.

"There is no need to engage them. You heard how they responded to that (MDC announcement of pull-out). They are clear on what they want," she said without elaborating.

Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga said her party would, however, continue to campaign for a "Yes" vote.

Mr Mkhosi declined to comment saying his superiors in the party were better positioned to comment.

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