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Copac discord worsens


There is no end in sight to the confusion that has blighted the operations of the Parliamentary Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) ever since its inception two years ago.

Yesterday, the co-chairpersons of the committee were as usual, singing from different hymn books — at a Press conference. Douglas Mwonzora and Paul Mangwana representing the main parties, MDC-T and Zanu PF, clashed on key issues involving the drafting of Zimbabwe’s new charter.

The Copac Press conference addressed by the three co-chairpersons turned into a circus as Mwonzora and Mangwana openly clashed.

Mwonzora said the rights of minorities needed to be respected in the new constitution, incensing Mangwana who immediately interjected to argue such a position would allow gays and prostitutes to sneak their interests into the constitution.

The third co-chairperson, Edward Mkhosi of the other MDC formation, tried to save the situation and said: “If we feel uncomfortable with gays, let’s include that in our constitution and say minority does not mean gays. There is the Gukurahundi for example; it was persecution of a minority.”

Zanu PF Chief Whip, Jorum Gumbo called the house to order and challenged the Copac chairpersons not to impose their thinking onto the process as it would then cease to be people-driven.

“This is a people-driven constitution and the people said what they want in the constitution. We cannot discuss what the people want. Don’t take it upon yourselves to discuss and come up with a position.

Follow what the people said they want,” Gumbo said. Perhaps even more surprising, Mangwana and Mwonzora differed even on the position of the constitution-making stage.

Mangwana said the process was now at the drafting stage while Mwonzora thought otherwise. The MDC-T representative argued the all-stakeholders’ conference needed $2 million which he said was not yet there, adding Copac needed $4 million to complete the process.

Meanwhile Mangwana, has threatened to fight the independent media and sue his Zanu PF counterpart, Edward Chindori-Chininga, for defamation by alleging that he leaked the document to MDC-T.

Mangwana said he had instructed his lawyers to sue Chindori-Chininga and newspapers that have called him a liar and a drunkard who negotiates while intoxicated.

“Any person who thinks they can make money out of me, I will sue and make money out of them. They say I am a drunkard; I am a liar who has been lying to the President (Robert Mugabe) and I negotiate while drunk. Anyone who defames me will face the music.”

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