The constitution-making process might not be completed until next year if Copac continues to face financial problems, co-chairman of the parliamentary body, Edward Mkhosi (MDC), has revealed.
Mkhosi told NewsDay on Thursday that Copac had run out of money for the next stage, the point where thematic committees collate people’s views.
“Meeting the deadlines we had set would all depend on the availability of money for the next phase, which is the thematic committees,” said Mkhosi.
“We have no money and we are currently engaging the Ministry of Finance to help us fund the remaining phases of the process,” he said.
He said the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, had these issues on his table but was however overwhelmed by demands of funding for different pertinent issues in the country.
“We still owe hotels and allowances for those employed by Copac and all these issues are on Biti’s table. However, we are aware that he (Biti) has a lot of pressing issues that he has to attend to,” said Mkhosi.
Mkhosi said donors like the United Nations Development Programme were not willing to fund the process as long as the government of Zimbabwe did not show any financial commitment.
Co-chairman Munyaradzi Mangwana (Zanu PF) said the Finance ministry had promised to give funds to Copac for the next stage.
“We were assured by the Minister of Finance that he would give us what is required and that he would tap the amount needed from the allocated reserves in the budget. Allocated reserves were $75 million and we need about $8-$12 million to complete the process,” Mangwana said.
He said although uploading of data had been completed, what still remained to be done was saving the data on to a server because they ran into technical hitches where data on three thematic areas disappeared from the server.
“We ran into a technical problem where data on land, natural resources and labour could not be retrieved from the server.
“We discovered that some of those issues were not captured, but we have since contracted an expert from Kenya to come and rectify the problem,” said Mangwana.
According to reliable sources, when the server crashed, technicians tried to rectify the mishap to no avail. However, Mangwana said all the data was secure and they had asked the suppliers of the server to come and look at the problem.
Copac’s information and publicity secretary Jessie Majome said the data was secure as it was stored in different formats, which included video, audio, Microsoft Word-typed format and handwritten.
She said Copac had quality control programmes to check the safety of data at every stage and they observed a strict security regime whereby only outreach teams were authorised to work on the data and gain access to the rooms where the data was kept.
“It is not possible that someone can sneak in and steal data. That is why political parties also deployed their nominees to monitor the process at every stage because none of the political parties trusts each other. Due to that political interest, having people to monitor the process from each political party is a good security measure,” she said.