HomeLocal NewsCopac outreach meetings thrown in disarray as parliament resumes

Copac outreach meetings thrown in disarray as parliament resumes

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The House of Assembly resumes sitting Tuesday in a move likely to throw Copac outreach meetings into further disarray, as parliamentarians constitute the largest number of outreach officials.

Copac still has a mammoth task in 42 Harare districts as well as other provinces where outreach meetings were not done.

However, with the resumption of parliament and the sitting of different committees, it is highly unlikely that MPs will have time to attend to Copac business.

The constitution-making process has been thrown off the rails by violence and intimidation forcing outreach meetings to be abandoned in Harare and other parts of the country.

Copac spokesperson Jessie Majome Monday said although the sitting of parliament would not affect Harare meetings, it would definitely affect those meetings in districts outside the capital where consultations were not completed.

“What I understand is that Harare meetings will be done during the weekend and so these will not affect the parliamentary calendar,” said Majome.

“However, the constitutional outreach meetings in other districts that were not completed will definitely be affected by the sitting of parliament.

“Other legislators working for Copac in districts outside of Harare would definitely be affected by the resumption of the Third Session of the Seventh Parliament because they might not attend parliament as they try to complete gathering views in those districts,” she said.

Parliament adjourned in July for more than two months to allow legislators seconded to Copac to take part in the process where they played a pivotal role as team leaders of constitutional outreach teams.

“It is possible for an MP to seek leave of absence from the Speaker of Parliament and as the House sits between Tuesday and Thursday, we as Copac can also make alternative arrangements so that the constitution outreach meetings can be done on Mondays and Fridays when parliament does not sit,” Majome said.

President Robert Mugabe in June announced a tight schedule for Parliament during the official opening of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe.
He said legislators would have to scrutinise about 23 Bills.

Although President Mugabe did not announce that the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) would be amended during this session, debate on the controversial legislation is likely to take centre stage.

The motion to amend Posa was moved by MDC-T Chief whip Innocent Gonese, who asked special leave from the Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo, for debate to continue on the amendments to the oppressive law.

The norm is that all motions that were not concluded in the previous session automatically fall off as the President would have announced a new legislative agenda, but it was resolved that debate on the proposed amendments to Posa would continue.

The other motions likely to be discussed today include debate on the Presidential speech. Senate will resume sitting in a fortnight.

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