Participants to a meeting of AIDS service organisations on Tuesday said they wanted rights to access HIV&AIDS treatment and access to health services or they would join the NCA in the no vote campaign.
A parliamentary led constitutional process (COPAC) is currently gathering views from the public on what the people want to be included in the new constitution. The process, which started last week is expected to take 83 days before the draft constitution is taken for a referendum.
The meeting was attended by more than 15 representatives of AIDS services from around the country.
“If our issues are not captured by the COPAC we are definitely going to call for a No vote come referendum time. HIV&AIDS issues are being ignored and yet everyone is being affected in one way or the other,” said a member of one of the organisations representing People Living with AIDS.
Community Working Group on Health Programme manager Caroline Mubaira told the gathering: “We are waiting for such time when the COPAC team finishes gathering people’s views and see if HIV&AIDS as well as health issues are well captured. If they are not well articulated in the document, us as a membership organisation we will go back to our constituency and consult for the way forward because we know that health issues are national issues, which need not to be excluded in the new constitution.”
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ HIV&AIDS Human rights programmes officer Bekizela Mapanda said they were closely monitoring the of HIV and AIDS issues by COPAC outreach teams.
“Our duty at the moment is that of monitoring the process and see whether there is democracy in terms of the inclusion of rights to health on behalf of people living with the pandemic. When the drafting of the actual constitution comes we will engage with our stakeholders and they will decide on the action to take depending on the outcome of the draft constitution.”
Meanwhiule chaos continued to characterise COPAC outreach teams with reports that co-chairpersons had ordered outreach teams to look for alternative accommodation after most of the teams had been evicted from Harare and Mutare hotels for failing to settle bills.
The two COPAC chairpersons Paul Mangwana of Zanu (PF) and Douglas Mwonzora of MDC-T admitted on Tuesday to journalists that outreach teams in Mutare and Harare were being chased away from hotels as a result of COPAC’s failure to pay hotel bills.
The teams were also not getting food from the hotels.
“We have instructed our teams to look for alternative accommodation which is cheaper because most of the hotels like Jameson and Crown Plaza which they are currently using are charging above US$60, which is beyond our budget,” said Mangwana.
Mwonzora said“The reason why we have accommodated those teams operating in Mashonaland central in Harare is that we could not find suitable accommodation for them in that area, and at some point we were told that some of the suitable hotels were booked up to September and we had no choice but to accommodate them in Harare”.