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Copac outreach condemned

This, they said, had a large bearing on the final outcome of the programme.
Speaking at the launch of the report titled, Final Report, Shadowing the Constitution Outreach Process last week, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) national director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava said people failed to express themselves because of fear.
“The environment was tense and people could not openly speak their views,” said Chipfunde-Vava. “The outreach was also disturbed by logistical problems.”


The report was compiled by Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
In some parts of the country, says the report, the political atmosphere was so tense that members of constitution select committee (Copac) were chased away when they wanted to hold meetings.


“In Mashonaland West province Copac meetings were conducted in a tense atmosphere. According to the report, observers reported incidents in which some Copac teams were chased away by residents stating that they did not need a new constitution.”
The report noted that there was limited participation at Copac meetings and there was evidence of “coaching” on thematic talking points.


“The extent of disruption was too great to ignore and the meeting had to be postponed to later dates, in view of inter-party political violence between the two main rival parties, Zanu PF and MDC-T and at times party slogans were chanted before the arrival of Copac teams,” says the report.
In places such as Harare, the meetings were sometimes characterised by intimidation, violence, verbal threats, whistling and booing of participants presenting different views and singing of revolutionary songs which disrupted proceedings.

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