GWERU — Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) has vowed his party would continue using controversial army commander Brigadier Douglas Nyikayaramba in the constitution-drafting process despite protests from other coalition government partners.
“Nyikayaramba is a soldier who comes from Manicaland and was called by Zanu PF to sit on the thematic committee on elections as our technical advisor,” Mangwana said.
“We did this because he has experience in these matters since he was national director of elections from 2000 to 2005. We know some of our partners in the inclusive government don’t want us to use him, but we will use him.”
Mangwana was addressing journalists at a Copac meeting in Gweru last Friday.
“We will use good brains even if they are in a soldier, so I can tell you that Nyikayaramba is ours,” he said.
Yesterday, MDC-T spokesperson and Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora said: “This displays the usual arrogance of Zanu PF because the issue of Nyikayaramba was resolved as far back as October 2009 when Zanu PF, through Patrick Chinamasa, agreed to withdraw him from Copac on the basis he was a serving member of the Zimbabwe National Army.
“When he joined Copac, he was wearing a long beard and we were misled into believing that he had since retired. We have since realised he is still Commander of 3 Brigade. Therefore, we will be insisting he be withdrawn from Copac since he is a serving member of the army.”
Mangwana added: “I don’t see us being able to hold the referendum in September because our resource envelope is very small. Our country is trying to make a constitution without money . . . we are still at the data uploading stage which has at this point also stalled because we have reached a stalemate on how to transcribe our district reports. So it will be difficult for us to hold the referendum in September,” said Mangwana.
Nyikayaramba recently raised a stink after he declared his allegiance to Zanu PF and saying he preferred to have the ageing President Robert Mugabe dying in office rather than ceding power to someone without liberation war credentials.