More cash for Constitution

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Copac co-chairperson Paul Mangwana has revealed that the constitutional-making committee would be getting a $8,5 million grant before the end of the month to kick start its outreach programme.

The programme has had many false starts and has continuously been bogged down by lack of funds.

Although he would not reveal where the money would be coming from, Mangwana said he was confident the outreach programme would take off in three weeks time.

“Yesterday we concluded the budget approval where each and every donor has clearly indicated their areas of support. In this phase, we are going to get $8,5 million which is enough to cover our outreach campaign,” Mangwana told 210 rapporteurs who were undergoing training in Harare last week.

The government is supposed to fund the process with international donors such as the UNDP chipping in with support.

Mangwana warned the rapporteurs not to take their personal views when gathering information from the people during the outreach exercise which is going to take three months.

“If anyone of us here has the spirit of hatred, we will not be able to write this new constitution.

Whatever you are going to gather out there should be correct and honest because we don’t want to come up with a document that will be rejected by the people in a referendum.

“If the people say that this is not what we said, it simply means that we would have lied. You would have committed fraud. We have the right to withdraw any rapporteur who does not conform to our code of ethics,” Mangwana warned the rapporteurs who are from Zanu PF, the two MDC formations and the civic society.

Nyanga North MP and co-chairperson of Copac Douglas Mwozora said the distrust among the political leadership has led to the delays in the constitution-making process.

“There is an endemic distrust within our society and this has affected the constitution-making process. There is a lot of distrust in the inclusive government and even the civil society. It is a disease that needs to be cured,” said Mwonzora.

As a result of the mistrust, the parties finally agreed on rapporteurs after more than three months of bickering over a formula to use when selecting them.

All the three political parties had to select 70 rapporteurs each and during the outreach process, the rapporteurs will move in trios representing the three different political parties.

He said Copac had failed to take its campaign to the people because it was being charged “super commercial rates” by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).

Mwonzora also pleaded for the support of the Zimbabwean business people in the constitution-making process.

“Our business people have not donated even a single cent to this process. We all know what they are capable of doing when it comes to supporting political party congresses. There is also the lack of a common national vision,” he said.

Another co-chairperson Edward Mkhosi also told the rapporteurs that they have been tasked to ensure that the people write their own constitution.