Low turn-out at Copac meetings

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The constitution-making process, currently on ice to allow for Parliament business, has recorded a low turn-out among the youths amid fears that the group may be used as cannon fodder for a ‘No’ vote campaign.
The demographical values released by Copac yesterday showed that youths were not taking the process seriously while women were major participants in the meetings held so far.
MDC-M co-chairperson for Copac Edward Mkhosi told journalists yesterday that the low turn-out by youths and people from Matabeleland North and South was worrying and the team would soon look into the matter.
Close to 930 meetings have been held nationwide so far with a total of 152 563 participants.
Mkhosi said: “The Select Committee has expressed concern over the low figures in Matabeleland province and has recommended that measures be taken to improve the people’s participation in this important national exercise”.
Mkhosi said cases of violence were “fabricated”.
“The issue of violence becomes a rumour. You are told of violent clashes and when a team is dispatched to investigate, they bring no evidence of that.
“Yesterday, we dealt with this issue and tasked Jomic to look at the cases of alleged violence,” he said.
So far, 500 observers have been accredited by Copac but most of them are complaining of being shut out of the process. Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said there was growing concern over the confusion in the current process describing it as a “continuation of the battle among political parties and an extension of negotiations that began in 2007”.
“Indications are that the process will be a negotiated settlement among the political parties and will not reflect the will of the people,” the coalition said.
Crisis claimed citizens were being coached by their respective political parties on what to say during meetings.
Last week, National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku urged students to prepare for a ‘No’ vote on the current “flawed” process. The outreach programme is set to resume next week.
Matabeleland North has recorded the lowest number of participants after holding 73 meetings that had 6 205 participants.
Matabeleland South had only 78 meetings with 8 379 people attending.