Posts Tagged COPAC
The Zimbabwe National League of the Blind (ZNLB) has engaged the three political parties in the inclusive government seeking alterations of clauses in the draft constitution that affect people within the Disability Movement ahead of a general election set for this year.
ZNLB Disability Rights and Advocacy Officer, Abraham Mateta says although members of the Disability Movement are going to vote at Saturday’s referendum, negotiations with political parties for a possible alteration will continue.
“There are various levels of engagement that have been commenced which include talking to political parties to register unhappiness with the contents of the draft,” Mateta said.
“We are going to the referendum this Saturday where people will choose to either reject or accept the draft constitution but we are still lobbying for alterations of clauses on disability so that they look more like human rights in nature as opposed to charity and welfare.”
Mateta said according to the COPAC draft constitution, disabled persons’ rights are subjected to the availability of resources.
“There is a resource conditionality, it imprints in the mind of those who will implement that disability is very expensive because you don’t find that condition with other groups except the elderly and sometimes children, that should be the first thing to be removed,” said Mateta.
“We are also talking about self-representation, the current draft constitution does not give that right to persons living with disabilities, it looks at these people as individuals with only social and recreational rights but we are saying disabled persons should have political and economic rights.”
Mateta said the final draft constitution should have captured the people’s views as represented in the National Statistical Report.
“We are arguing and making efforts to convince them that it is in the national interest to frame the content of the draft based on best international practices as well as the content in the National Statistical Report,” Mateta said.
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.”