It’s now the turn of the people of Harare and Bulawayo to take part in the long-awaited constitutional debate as Copac outreach teams are set to visit these urban provinces this weekend.
Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora yesterday confirmed to NewsDay that as announced, Harare and Bulawayo residents would have the opportunity to air their views to the new constitution on September 18 and 19.
“We are going to go ahead with these meetings as per plan,” said Mwonzora. “We are already at an advanced stage as far as logistical issues are concerned.”
Mwonzora said teams from Masvingo would be brought to help those in Harare since the outreach meetings in these two cities should run for only two days.
However, he said some political parties were not keen to have the number of wards in the two cities increased.
“There has been a new development regarding the number of meetings per ward in Harare. In our pre-planning, we had said we will hold two meetings per ward to reduce congestion because naturally we expect a very high turnout from people in towns compared with those in the rural areas,” Mwonzora said.
“We have since gathered that some political parties prefer one meeting per ward,” he said.
Asked if Copac had received any reports of political parties who had already started intimidating people against airing views perceived to be against the wishes of their parties, Mwonzora said they had not yet received such reports.
He, however, said such practices were a high display of ignorance because even if people tried to stifle views from one province, another province could bring out those issues.
“Regarding the political element of people who want to advance their views over other people, it displays total ignorance of the manner that views are going to be gathered and the manner that this constitution is going to be written.
“There is no need of stifling other people’s thoughts,” said Mwonzora.
He said for example, people in Nyanga may be afraid to say a certain thing, but other people in Mutoko might already have said it and Copac would incorporate that view when amalgamating all the data that has been gathered.
Mwonzora said Copac would be disseminating information about the dates and venues of the meetings, using different communication mediums, as well as outreach teams who would go around announcing the meetings through hailers.