Copac co-chairpersons Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) and Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) have clashed over the violence that scuttled outreach meetings in Harare, accusing each other of politicking about the extent of damage the chaos had dealt the constitution-making process.
Mangwana said Mwonzora was not being truthful by declaring the constitutional outreach meetings that took place in the capital were held in an atmosphere of violence, intimidation and racism and that they had been annulled.
“It is not true that Copac has said those meetings are null and void,” said Mangwana. “Mwonzora is only politicking because out of the 74 meetings we have held in Harare, 69 were successfully done under such peaceful conditions that someone passing by would have thought they were church meetings.
“We will only deal with revisiting those areas where there were disturbances and the government of Zimbabwe will have to fund the repeats because it is the government that asked us to do this exercise,” he said.
Mwonzora hit back and said it was not noble for a supposedly honourable person like Mangwana, who himself was a victim of that violence, to deny that it actually happened.
“Mangwana himself was a victim of that violence on two occasions and the preliminary reports that we have compiled indicate that 90% of the meetings held were under circumstances of violence and intimidation as well as racism,” he said.
Mwonzora said the fact that 69 meetings were successfully completed did not mean that they proceeded peacefully.
“The fact that 69 meetings were completed does not necessarily mean that they were held under the correct atmosphere. What is relevant is whether those meetings were held in a conducive atmosphere. There is no one who is politicking here and if anything, anybody who trivialises the violence that happened over the weekend is the one who is politicking,” said Mwonzora.
He said Copac had since tasked a specialist researcher, Alex Masumba, to compile all the information regarding those meetings that witnessed disturbances.
“That information is being compiled by a professional officer and it would then tell us which meetings have to be redone,” he said.
He said a violent atmosphere was not acceptable in terms of Article Six of the Global Political Agreement.
“Copac meetings must satisfy three requirements: they must be democratic; they must be all-inclusive; and people should be free to contribute because it must be a people-driven concept,” said Mwonzora.
He said he found it curious for Mangwana to downplay the violence when war veterans chased him at Seke 2 High School.
He said even Zanu PF MPs were not spared from the violence as Chiredzi North MP Ronald Ndava (Zanu PF) was also attacked during the violence at Seke 2 High School.
He was saved by the intervention of Zanu PF Senator, Chief Fortune Charumbira.