The constitution-making process, which has had several false starts over the past three years, suffered another blow yesterday amid reports that Zanu PF had temporarily suspended its participation in the drafting stages.
Sources in the Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) management committee said Zanu PF Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana sent a message to his MDC counterparts in the afternoon advising that the party would not be available for any Copac business “until further notice”.
The news came as the law-making body was preparing for today’s co-chairpersons’ meeting in Harare.
“A meeting of co-chairpersons was set for tomorrow (today) at Pandari Lodge (Harare), but we have just been notified that Zanu PF has indicated that it is no longer available for any Copac business.
“This effectively means that two MDC formations cannot go ahead with meeting,” said a Copac leader who declined to be named.
“Broadly speaking, Zanu PF is stalling the constitution-making process, an accusation that it was levelling on the other parties,” the source said.
MDC-T’s Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora said Zanu PF had not formally advised on the alleged “pull-out.”
“What we were told is that they are still consulting on some of the issues on the document that we have produced,” he said.
“We are yet to be advised on any pull-out.”
However, speaking during a Copac-civil society briefing in Bulawayo, Mwonzora said Mangwana “sounded distressed” when he spoke to him in the morning.
“Mangwana is locked in party caucus meetings,” he said.
“When I called him before this meeting, he sounded distressed.
“Some of the criticisms levelled at Mangwana by his party are unfair.
“Zanu PF believes that when Mangwana is negotiating with us he is giving in a lot of concessions but we are not easy people to negotiate with.”
When contacted for comment, Mangwana was evasive saying: “Whatever is being said about Zanu PF is nonsense.”
“I am the only qualified representative to comment on behalf of Zanu PF, not other co-chairpersons.
“If they are the ones who told you this matter concerning my party, they are just crazy.”
Pressed to reveal the true position of Zanu PF on Copac, Mangwana said: “You can write whatever you want, we are ruling this country.”
Last week, President Robert Mugabe ordered the Copac management committee to submit the draft to him by Thursday this week.
The writing of the new Constitution, which started three years ago, has been stalled on several occasions due to disagreements among political parties driving the process.