Puma cries foul over constitution

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The Patriotic Union of Matabeleland (Puma) has accused political parties in the inclusive government of treating the constitution-making exercise like their private business by excluding other parties from the thematic committees.

Party president Wilson Bancinyane Ndiweni yesterday said only two members of Puma were invited to the 17 thematic committees.

“These parties want to treat the constitutional exercise like bedroom matters,” he said.
“They forget that though they are in the inclusive government, they do not have the majority vote because out of 15 million citizens in the country only about 2,5 million voted in 2008.”

Ndiweni added: “The three parties are spearheading everything but it is our conviction that the process was not even meant to be handled by political parties. We have been told that only two of our members are required in the thematic committees.

“We do not understand the logic behind calling for only two members from our party yet there are 17 thematic committees. We had already prepared 17 people only to be told that only two were required.”

Ndiweni said his party had written to the co-chairpersons of the constitution select committee but without success.

“This action is not consistent with a people-driven constitution because some parties will have more representatives than others,” he said.

Contacted for comment Copac co-chairperson Edward Mkhosi (MDC) yesterday said the two Puma members invited to the thematic committees were enough as there were a lot of political parties in the country that had to be incorporated.

“It was agreed at a stakeholders’ meeting before the outreach exercise that we come up with a 30% representation of political parties and the other 70% of civic organisations,” Mkhosi said.

“All political parties are represented in that 30%. What they have to realise is that there are a lot of political parties besides them. Two is enough. If they bring people who know what they are doing then they will be well represented.”