COPAC Wants Political Leaders To Publicly Denounce Violence

The Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) says it is necessary for the leaders to emphatically denounce violence as a measure to help the progress of the exercise.

“We have said that we want the political parties to speak against violence publicly and this must be done at the most senior level of
the parties,” COPAC co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora who represents the MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told Radio VOP.

His colleague Paul Mangwana who represents Zanu PF in the committee said there is consensus that the areas that were disrupted must be
redone as was the case in many other parts of the country where violence was reported.

However Mwonzora said the meetings that were disrupted even those that were partially completed should be redone. About 42 meetings had been
done out of a total of 72. Apart from the call for the political leaders to denounce violence the committee also want the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) which initially denied COPAC adverts airtime to prominently publicise the venues of the meetings and the time. Furthermore the committee want Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri to issue a stern warning to would be perpetrators of violence on national television. In
addition they want him to set up road blocks at roads leading to meeting venues to avoid the bussing in of people.

COPAC meetings in Harare and Chitungwiza were suspended two weeks ago after violence caused by Zanu PF supporters broke out. The violence was so intense that even the parliamentarians recording the people’s views had to take to their heels. An MDC supporter died from injuries sustained after he was attacked by Zanu PF supporters.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday decried the violence that has so far marred the constitution making process and hinted that due
to it the final document might have to be negotiated among political parties.
On the other hand the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), for long a critic of the parliamentary led process, says the politicians must
swallow they pride and set up an independent commission to complete the process.
A new constitution is expected to usher in a new culture of democracy and the respect of human rights. The country is currently using a patched-up Lancaster House constitution, which Mugabe has used over the years to maintain an iron fist rule on the country.

According to a Global Political Agreement (GPA) timeline the country is supposed to have elections next year soon after the adoption of the
new constitution.