Only 70 000 copies of draft produced

HARARE - Constitution Select Committee (Copac) has produced 70 000 copies of the draft constitution to be distributed in the 210 constituencies countrywide.

The copies are to be used by legislators during the public awareness campaign countrywide, to inform members of public on the contents of the charter.

The number of copies translates to the equation that one copy will be shared by five people who want to understand the charter.

Twenty thousand copies will be in 10 vernacular languages (Shona, Ndebele, Venda, Shangaan, Tonga, Nambya, Chewa, Xhosa, Kalanga and Sotho) with other 500 copies printed into braille.

The distribution of the copies will start on Monday February 18.

On Wednesday, legislators were each given 20 copies of the draft for initial distribution to their constituencies.

The committee will give the draft to all government departments which include Parliament, funding partner’s, business community, religious groups and many other organisations.

It will also dish out the copies to non-governmental organisations like Nango to distribute the draft to its affiliate members.

Copac will also liaise with provincial and district administrators and seek assistance in distributing the draft. In the rural areas, chiefs would be given copies to distribute to their subjects.

The draft constitution was approved by Parliament last week and will be subjected to a referendum on March 16.

On Wednesday, all hell broke loose at Rainbow Towers as legislators demanded to be paid money to participate in the last stage of Copac publicity programme.

The legislators caused the abrupt adjournment of the Copac public awareness workshop on the draft as they said they were not prepared to undertake the campaign without an agreement that they will be paid.

MDC MP for Makoni West Webber Chinyadza posed the question to Copac Chairperson Edward Mkhosi who was briefing the MPs on the contents of the draft and what to tell the public about the charter during the awareness campaign.

“We did not hear whether we are going to get any resources for the publicity programme, and what we are going to use for the programme, “said Chinyadza.

Jessie Majome, Copac spokesperson who was answering the questions on behalf of Copac told the legislators that there were no funds for the programme.

This caused uproar from the legislators, who started shouting on top of their voices and with some leaving the room.

In 2010 Copac engaged in a three month outreach programme where the MPs were gathering views from the public to be captured in the draft constitution countrywide with legislators being paid $100 per day for the exercise.

The legislators are expecting the same amount of money for the publicity programme which will begin soon following the approval of the draft by Parliament before a referendum is held next month.

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