Two members of a constitutional parliamentary committee outreach team in Silobela in the Midlands province are reported to have walked out of a meeting on Wednesday following a dispute over which language to use between Ndebele and Shona.
Sources told NewsDay that the incident took place at Mabeza Clinic in Chief Malisa’s area in the Midlands province where a meeting had been convened to gather views on what to include in the new constitution.
They identified the two as Edwin Ndlovu, a rapporteur and Godwin Sibanda, one of the team leaders. Both are members of MDC- M.
Contacted for comment, Ndlovu said: “We walked out because of language issues but you can talk to the authorities about that.”
Sibanda could not be reached for comment.
Sources said trouble started when one of the team leaders from Zanu PF, Isheunesu Muza, MP for Redcliff, reportedly insisted that part of the deliberations be in Shona when the gathering had reportedly expressly said it wanted the discussions in Ndebele.
Midlands has a mixture of Ndebele and Shona-speaking people. Ndlovu and Sibanda feared the discussions could be distorted.
The other Copac outreach team members remained behind to continue the meeting under protest and vowed not to sign any submissions so the problem could be looked into.
Muza refused to comment.
Efforts to obtain comment from the provincial outreach team leader, Joram Gumbo, were fruitless.
The outreach exercise has been plagued by problems countrywide, some relating to people being coached to say certain things during such meetings while others were to do with misinterpretation of concepts like devolution of power.
There have also been reports of political activists intimidating participants.
There are already threats of a no vote campaign if people’s views are aptly captured.