HomeLocal NewsWe don’t have power to stop manipulation — Copac

We don’t have power to stop manipulation — Copac

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Copac says it has no powers to deal with political parties and civic society groups bussing their supporters to outreach meetings to water down the views of the locals.

This has raised fears that the process will produce a flawed blueprint for Zimbabwe’s new constitution.

Co-chairperson for Copac Edward Mkhosi revealed this at a briefing organised by the Matabeleland Civil Society Consortium.

He said Copac had clout of censuring political parties and civic society from mobilising people for the outreach process.

“As Copac we cannot deal with everything that happens out in the field,” said Mkhosi. “Copac has no way of stopping or controlling political parties from bussing people to the outreach meetings. What we can do is to take note of that and if we feel that it is interfering with the process, we then report the matter to the police.”

He said Copac could not do anything about a situation where the community delegates one person in the gathering to speak on their behalf.

“If, for instance, there is one person who has been selected to speak on behalf of a certain crowd, we do not have control over that because the villagers would have agreed to it,” Makhosi said.

Mkhosi said Copac’s role was to give a platform for people to say out their views on what they wanted in the new constitution.

Political parties have been accused of bussing participants to outreach meetings and intimidating villagers to contribute certain political views during the meetings.

In most instances, especially in Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces, war veterans among others have been accused of forcing villagers to air views that were in line with certain political parties.

This has caused ructions between the public and civic society organisations saying the constitution-making process was flawed and a waste of time.

They accuse political parties of being in the forefront of the process advancing their political interests.

In some instances, there have been allegations that MPs who are part of the process have taken the opportunity of using the outreach meetings to campaign.

Copac has said it will re-visit areas that have not been covered in Matabeleland North.

In Tsholotsho, 17 wards were overlooked and 16 wards in Nkayi were also not visited by Copac.

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