Zanu PF MPs furious over Copac confusion

HARARE - Zanu PF Members of Parliament (MPs) are up in arms with the party’s Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac) team, which they claim is flip-flopping on the party’s position on the Copac draft.

A Zanu PF parliamentary caucus meeting held at the Zanu PF headquarters descended into chaos as MPs were up in arms against their Copac team led by Paul Mangwana and his deputy Monica Mutsvangwa over the manner the team had performed in the negotiations for the draft constitution.

Other Zanu PF MPs in the Copac team are Joram Gumbo, Olivia Muchena, Lazarus Dokora, Walter Chidhakwa and Tambudzani Mohadi, with Patrick Chinamasa heading the management committee.

Mangwana and his Copac team faced angry MPs who were charging that they did not know what to tell their constituencies on the party position as the Copac team was flip-flopping.

They demanded to know whether they were in agreement or not of the draft.

Zanu PF MPs expressed their displeasure at the way the Copac team had made a volte face and condemned the draft constitution which they signed and agreed to.

The MPs said they were being confused by the Copac team on the draft constitution and did not have correct and accurate feedback to brief their supporters on the ground.

According to party sources, Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa cooled the temperatures after suggesting that the party was going to organise a workshop on legal issues on the draft constitution for the MPs before the Second All-Stakeholders Conference.

Mangwana appended his signature to the draft constitution document on July 18, this year on behalf of the party. However, Mangwana and his team are now disowning the draft constitution and saying it does not capture the views gleaned during the outreach programme in 2010.

Mangwana argues he had not signed the document but had only initialled it as an acknowledgment that it was a Copac document.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed the draft constitution was discussed by Zanu PF legislators in their meeting.

“I was not in the meeting but I was briefed the matter was raised up by legislators who wanted to know what the party position on the draft constitution is. They asked the management committee led by Patrick Chinamasa and Paul Mangwana on what is happening with the draft constitution,” said Gumbo.

“However I urge the MPs to be disciplined and toe the party line and wait until we are done with the Second All-Stakeholders meeting soon. We shall have the chance to discuss what we want to be added or removed in the draft after that meeting because we have our own position on the draft constitution.”

Contacted for comment, a fuming Mangwana alleged the MPs who leaked the caucus meeting details to the Daily News were “sell outs and counter-revolutionaries” that must be expelled from the party.

“I do not discuss the party business with press and whatever we talked about is for the party members only and not for press consumption,” said Mangwana.

“We have procedures and processes to follow in the party, if members have grievances they should follow due procedure rather than go to the press. Your source is an MDC agent. The MPs must know that I am senior party member and I cannot be just pushed around by some Jack and Tom in the party who have their hidden agendas. The party leadership is happy with the way my team worked in Copac, otherwise I could have been demoted from that post,” added Mangwana.

MDC formations have endorsed the draft constitution, while Zanu PF wants over 200 amendments to the draft.

The draft constitution will be discussed at the end of this month by more than 1 200 delegates, before being referred to Parliament for further debate.

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