Mangwana U-turn on Copac violence

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Co-Chairperson of the Constitutional Select Committee Paul Munyaradzi Mangwana, who last week confirmed incidents of violence during public constitutional consultations in Chinhoyi, has denied that any violence has taken place so far.
Mangwana, the Zanu PF representative in Copac, told journalists yesterday that reports of chaos and violence were a figment of the media’s imagination. Last week, Mangwana confirmed to NewsDay cases of violence that had erupted during constitutional public hearings in Mashonaland West.
“I can confirm that in Chinhoyi there was an almost volatile situation when one of the political parties was being suspected of using Copac vehicles to lobby its party members,” Mangwana said.
He said Copac experienced problems in Mashonaland West where people thought it was unsafe to participate without police presence. But yesterday he made a U-turn saying:
“We have had meetings with the Select Committee where our team leaders have reported that there was no violence.”
Numerous incidents of chaos, intimidation and violence were reported around the country and confirmed by civic organisations, politicians and other eyewitnesses.
But Mangwana dismissed the reports saying Copac had in fact realised during the outreach programme that national healing had made remarkable progress.
Mangwana said civic society was not part of the Copac project and whatever they reported should not be taken seriously.
Curiously, however, the three co-chairpersons later said Copac was already working on modalities to accredit independent monitors for the process that got off to a sluggish start owing to logistical problems.
Senator Believe Gaule (MDC-M) asked:
“Why should the process be monitored? This is not an election. We are worried that there are people moving around with vehicles that have Copac stickers claiming to be our monitors.
“These people are criminals and they must be arrested.”