Zim's Constitution Parliamentary Committee In Court

The constitutional outreach team was launched on Wednesday at a ceremony in Harare where some local and foreign journalists were denied entry.

The three activitists, Qhubekani Dube, Mqondisi Moyo and Phathisani Nondo, who belong to a pressure group called Ibetshu LikaZulu, said they were excluded from the process despite initially being accredited as members of the outreach team.

The Bulawayo-based political activists are seeking an order compelling the constitution making body to include them in the list of outreach members without any loss to the benefits that other members will get.

Betshu LikaZulu is a preassure group advocating for equitable development of all parts of the country.

They want the Court to declare the decision by Copac to exclude them from the whole process without giving any reasons or hearing, unfair and in contravention of Section 3 (1)(a) of the Administrative Justice
Act Chapter 10:28.

Dube, Moyo and Nondo had their names published in the Chronicle of 9 January, 2010 as participants to the constitution-making process.

They subsequently attended training in Harare with other members of the outreach teams were they were given Copac Accreditation Cards between 10 and 14 January this year before being asked to sign Copac Codes of Conduct as well as a “quasi employment contract relationship” with Copac.

The activists say they were “shocked” to read n the Chronicle Newspaper of 11 June listing the names of the individuals who were part of the Copac process that their names were “unaccountably missing”from
the list.

The matter is due to be heard on Thursday 17 June 2010 before justice Nicholas Ndou.

Copac has been dogged by many problems ranging from lack of funding to complaints by Members of Parliament over allowances and disagreements among the three main political parties – Zanu PF, MDC – T and MDC M, led by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Authur Mutambara.

Meanwhile scores of journalists on Wednesday were barred from covering the launching of the outreach programme at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).

Security officials from the presidential guard denied journalists with accreditation cards from the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) saying they were under instructions not to allow any journalists with no invitation cards.

Among the journalists denied entry included Angus Shaw of Associated Press (AP), Jan Raath of the The Times of London and several print and photo journalists.

Pleas from the Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs , Jessie Majome, for the security details to allow the journalists to cover the event fell on deaf ears.

Majome explained to the security personnel that the launching of the constitutional outreach programme did not require accreditation but this could not move the security team manning the entrance.

“We are following what is on this list.We understand you and know you are Deputy minister but you must go and type a new paper with their names (journalists) then from there we will allow them in,” one security detail told Majome.

Zimbabwe is on the verge of writing a new charter according to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which brought the formation of the unity government.