Zanu PF boycotts Diaspora meeting

HARARE - Zanu PF has boycotted a public meeting on the stalled draft constitution scheduled for South Africa today, with a top official claiming that debate on the new governance charter has turned into a “boxing ring”.

Paul Mangwana, who led the Zanu PF team in the Constitution Select Committee (Copac), a parliamentary body charged with crafting the draft constitution, was supposed to represent Zanu PF at the public meeting.

He told the Daily News on Sunday he was boycotting the event to spare himself possible embarrassment.

Representatives of the MDC formations who were part of Copac and civil society are expected to headline the Johannesburg meeting.

Mangwana said his party was not prepared to participate in the event because President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry minister Welshman Ncube, the coalition government principals, were still seized with the matter.

“I am not going to South Africa for this public meeting. We handed over the draft constitution to the principals and it is better to wait for the principals to discuss it before we can start any debate.
“This is the position that Zanu PF has decided to take,” said Mangwana.

Tsvangirai and Ncube have already declared a deadlock on the draft constitution talks after Zanu PF refused to accept the Copac draft and instead authored its own document.

“The two say regional Sadc leaders, who are the power-sharing accord mediators and guarantors, should intervene to break the deadlock hence there is no need for the principals to open fresh negotiations.

Mangwana revealed the other reason why he is not too keen on attending the meeting.

“These meetings have become sparring boxing matches between Zanu PF and MDC to the amusement of the spectators. It is not necessary to do so at this stage.  MDC declared a deadlock on the constitution, so let the principals unlock it before we start these meetings."

“As far as Zanu PF is concerned, this is a civil society meeting with MDC, their partner and it is not a Copac meeting,” said Mangwana.

Thoko Matshe of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition will chair the meeting.

Speakers include law professor Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly, Douglas Mwonzora (MDC and Copac co-chairperson) and Qubani Moyo of Ncube’s MDC Mwonzora said Mangwana’s absence was of no consequence.

“With or without Mangwana we are going to South Africa. He is afraid of the backlash he has been getting from his party. This is why he is now appearing on ZBC television, radio and state media misinforming the nation about the draft constitution, whilst we the other co-chairpersons are being systemically shut out.
In South Africa we shall tell the Diaspora people the truth, which they are entitled to know,” said Mwonzora.

“During the outreach stage I went with Mangwana to South Africa to gather their views and it is only fair that we keep them informed on developments on the constitution-making process,” said Mwonzora.

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