Copac won't give cops cash

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The Zimbabwe Republic Police, which has been demanding at least $3 million from the Constitutional Select Committee (Copac), will not get a cent because it is their constitutional obligation to provide security, law and order whenever the nation requires it.

Copac co-chairperson Paul Mangwana told editors at a briefing in Harare on Friday that Copac had made it clear to the police that if they needed any extra resources to cover the constitutional outreach programme they would have to take their begging bowl to Treasury.

“We told the Parliamentary portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs which had asked us why we had not budgeted for the police requirements that it is the obligation of government to provide security, law and order whenever it is needed,” said Mangwana.

“We told them this was an important national exercise and police should be able to ensure there is peace, law and order just as they do when the nation holds elections. We told the police they should go to treasury if they need any extra resources. The Minister of Finance eventually agreed to provide the police with the needed resources.

The police had charged Copac $3 million for their services during the constitutional outreach project saying the task of providing security was outside their normal duties. They said they would need to buy several vehicles, fuel, food, and also to pay officers seconded to the Constitution – making process.

The police had, however, finally agreed to provide Copac with 350 police officers who would be accompanying outreach teams, said Mangwana.

Five policemen will be attached to each ten-member Copac outreach team. There will be 70 teams throughout the country.

Mangwana said demands such as that made by the police might have been driven by greed as several stakeholders had sought to jump onto what they assumed was a gravy train after word got round that Copac was set to receive $43 million.

“Many service providers, including media organisations, had increased, several fold, their charges for any services Copac needed, including advertising, when they were mistakenly convinced that we were going to get $43 million,” said Mangwana.

The $43 million, he said was just a vote of credit which was yet to be sourced.

As it turned out, Copac had only received $7, 1 million through the UNDP, which should be enough for the outreach programme.

Another $8, 2 million was expected for the financing of the Referendum, which should be in May next year, Mangwana said.

The outreach programme was expected to begin on June 15 after all the required equipment (video and audio recorders) and vehicles would have been bought.

The 265 vehicles would be sourced by CMED which had started hiring them from individuals.

The outreach programme was expected to take 90 days, ending on September 15, Mangwana said.

The drafting stage would then follow before a second All Stakeholder conference is held in December.

The Draft Constitution would be sent to Parliament in February and a Referendum would then come in May.

Elections would then be expected any time that President Robert Mugabe deems fit.

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