Diasporans shut out of constitution-making

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Copac does not have any systems in place to facilitate participation by the Zimbabwean community in the Diaspora in the ongoing constitution-making process NewsDay can reveal.
This has raised fears that millions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora would not have a chance to have their views included in the new constitution.
Although Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Mangwana said his organisation was interested in getting views from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, Copac has no website or any other means of communicating with people in the Diaspora.
“We agreed that we need to create a platform where Zimbabweans in the Diaspora can also say out their views through the Internet,” said Mangwana. “They also have a right to add their views to the Constitution,” he said. However, investigations by Copac revealed that the committee had no system to gather information from the Diasporans.
More than three million Zimbabweans live in the Diaspora, in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the US, Australia and other countries around the world.
Mangwana denied reports that Copac had contracted people in the United Kingdom to gather views from there. Last month a group called Zimbabwe Constitution Consultation Coalition claimed to have been given training manuals and the mandate to gather information from Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom by Copac, using the same forms and talking points being used in Zimbabwe.
The group’s project manager, Qobo Mayisa, reportedly said his organisation was already training its outreach officers to meet organised groups of Zimbabweans to gather information that they would then send to Copac.
Mangwana said yesterday that Copac had not signed any contracts or engaged any group in the Diaspora for such services.
“Information will be gathered by Copac and we cannot contract anyone to do that for us because we need to verify that the information is really coming from Zimbabweans,” he said.Mangwana said people in the Diaspora would contribute through a proposed Copac website and referred questions pertaining to this issue to Peter Kunjeku, their projects manager. But Kunjeku told Newsday that Copac did not have a website.
“At the moment we have engaged an ICT expert who is looking at certain aspects of the website that we want,” said Kunjeku. “We want a website with qualitative issues and very soon we will have it up,” he said.
He said the ICT expert had, since two weeks ago, been working on the .