Monday, September 20, 2010

Zimbabwe Constitutional Parliament Committee Suspended After Distrubances

Copac suspends meetings

Herald Reporters

CONSTITUTIONAL outreach meetings in Harare have been suspended with immediate effect following disturbances that marred the activities at the weekend as the political leadership called for peace and tolerance among Zimbabweans.

Constitutional Parliament Committee co-chairpersons Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu-PF) and Mr Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) confirmed the postponement yesterday.

"We had an emergency management meeting and it was agreed that the 13 outstanding meetings in Harare be suspended," Cde Mangwana said in an interview.

He said the management committee would assess the situation once some of the members return from the UN General Assembly currently underway in New York.

"This was also done to allow tempers to calm down and all the teams have been asked to go back to their provi-nces and finish any outstanding work," he said.

In Matabeleland North Province, parts of Umguza were still to be covered while in Matabeleland South, Beit-bridge was still outstanding and Gokwe North in the Midlands is still to be covered.

In Mashonaland West, Kariba is still to be covered while parts of Rushinga and Buhera are still to conduct their meetings in Mashonaland Central and Manicaland provinces respectively.

"The suspension is only for Harare and Bulawayo will continue with their meetings.

"We, however, successfully completed 69 meetings in Harare," Cde Mangwana said.

Mr Mwonzora said the meetings would resume at a date to be announced.

"The meetings would resume at a later date. But we are concerned with the alleged acts of violence and intimidation," he said.

MDC-T had earlier in the day yesterday met and agreed not to take part in the outreach meetings in Harare.

At some venues visited by The Herald yesterday, Members of Parliament from MDC-T were conspicuous by their absence.

At Dzivarasekwa 3 Community Hall, MDC-T legislators were absent and only 30 people turned up.

In Mbare, MDC-T had also boycotted the scheduled meetings while Copac teams had not turned up at Glen Norah B Community Hall and Budiriro by 2pm yesterday.

Acting President John Landa Nkomo urged Zimbabweans to maintain peace and stability ahead of today’s commemorations to mark the International Day of Peace.

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai also immediately condemned reports of violence at some Copac outreach meetings over the weekend.

Said Acting President Nkomo: "The International Day of Peace provides the opportunity for individuals, households, families, communities, organisations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date."

Addressing journalists on today’s commemorations, Cde Nkomo urged stakeholders to collaborate with the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration towards the attainment of peace within the country.

"The Organ believes it is important that all stakeholders are given an opportunity to input into the process and mechanism for national healing.

"To ensure this, the Organ has facilitated a number of consultations with key stakeholders including churches, civil society, citizens in the Diaspora, political parties and traditional leaders," he said.

Cde Nkomo said the Organ’s framework of action depended on consultations.

"The Organ is proceeding within the framework of action, which is based on consultations with stakeholders,

identification of entry points for mainstreaming national healing and peace building and development," he said.

Acting President Nkomo said only Zimbabweans would be able to establish lasting peace in the country.

"Unless the peace we aspire for as a nation is achieved by the people themselves, then it may not last permanently. The peace-building process must, therefore, be Zimbabwean although it may incorporate other regional and international best practices as it unfolds," he said

The day was proclaimed by the UN as a way of providing a single point for the continent to show that peace was possible and that there was need for the continent to mobilise resources towards the realisation of such.

The African Union set aside 2010 as the year of peace and security in Africa.

Addressing a group of people calling themselves survivors of political violence in Harare yesterday, Mr Tsvangirai said the constitution- making process was not a political contest.

"The nation is on a path towards healing and peace. I am disturbed, however, by reports of violence during the current constitution-making exercise. Reports of violence in Mbare and elsewhere throughout the country are a negation of the new spirit we had began to build in the country. I personally will not support the process, which is flawed because that was not the objective of the process," he said.

Mr Tsvangirai said the three principals to the Global Political Agreement would have the final say on the outcome of the constitution-making process.

He said the Copac Management Committee was working on a report that would be presented to the principals for consideration.

If the principals felt that the process was not legitimate, Mr Tsvangirai said, it would be redone.

Addressing journalists afterwards co-Minister of National Healing and Reconciliation Sekai Holland said strides were being made for the country to achieve peace.

"The element of violence needs to be totally removed because peace is a prerequisite for development.

"We must deepen our engagement as political parties because this process builds the country," she said.

The AU has also lobbied for the observance of a minute of silence at 10.00am GMT and a "Make Peace Happen" lesson plan to be taught in schools as they participate in the activities of the day.

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