The Professor Welshman Ncube led MDC has engaged Civic Society Organisations reportedly left out of the official COPAC constitutional campaigns to assist in carrying out a separate nationwide campaign set to end on March 15.
This follows MDC’s pullout from the official campaign at the weekend citing unequal representation in the campaign. MDC Bulawayo provincial spokesperson, Edwin Ndlovu said the party’s nationwide campaign on the eve of the referendum.
“We are holding a nationwide ‘Yes’ campaign with the help of civic groups who also feel that the two political parties (Zanu PF and MDC T) deliberately excluded them from the campaign process,” Ndlovu said.
“The MDC-T only engaged Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition which is the group that it is working with and excluded groups which include the Matebeleland Civic Society Forum while Zanu PF also picked its own civic groups as led by Goodson Nguni, as MDC we are working with these organisations that were left out.”
Matebeleland Civic Society Forum spokesperson Dumisani Nkomo however said civic organisations should remain apolitical and allow Zimbabweans to make their own decisions on the draft constitution. He said the forum is not part of the COPAC campaign.
The MDC last Saturday pulled out of the official Copac constitutional campaign citing a deliberate exclusion from 8 of the country’s ten provinces. MDC secretary general Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga said the party decided to pull out of the two provinces, Bulawayo and Matebeleland South, where they had initially been allowed to campaign as the other two parties in the inclusive government were using the campaign platform in the other provinces to attack the MDC.
Copac this week threw out a request by the party to have additional representatives in the publicity campaign. COPAC co-chairperson Paul Mangwana was quoted saying, “We are proceeding with our civic education on the draft with or without the MDC. After all, they are leaving when the process is just about to end.”
Meanwhile, the MDC says it had offered to deploy its MPs to the other 8 provinces.
“Mangwana is also aware that as a party we offered to deploy our other MPs to the other 8 provinces where we were not represented and this was flatly refused. It is this refusal which is in itself disrespectful and contemptuous of the MDC that resulted in us resolving to pull out of the publicity outreach campaign,” reads a statement released by the party.
“The hypocrisy of that refusal is borne out by the fact that whereas we were rudely informed that no party was allowed to deploy any of its MPs and or officials who are not part of the 25 member select committee, Mangwana and Mwonzora proceeded to deploy in the Bulawayo Province publicity outreach programme, Kucaca Phulu to represent the MDC –T. As everyone knows, Phulu is neither a member of the select committee nor an MP.”