THE Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) has launched a stinging criticism of the government and donors over late release of funds which the committee blames for the delays in the constitution-making exercise.
Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the funding partners, government and the United Nations Development Programme should have urgency when releasing money for the writing of a new governance charter.
“Our main problem has been availability of resources on time. We implore the government and donors to give Copac resources on time to avoid unnecessary delays,” he said. “Getting funds on time has been a nightmare for Copac.”
The constitution-making process, Mwonzora said, is already lagging behind by a month due to “unreliable funding” as well as violence and intimidation that led to the suspension of the exercise in Harare.
Copac says it requires over US$6 million to finance the remaining phase of the writing of the constitution although Finance minister Tendai Biti allocated US$1 million under the 2011 budget. Biti’s allocation has been described by Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Mangwana (pictured) as “a joke”.
“For us to meet the timelines our funders should honour their word because Zimbabweans complain that Copac delays the constitution-making process but the major problems lies with the government and donors,” said Mwonzora.
Mwonzora said Copac had about $700 000 for the uploading and processing of data expected to end on January 31. He warned that his committee had no resources for the sitting of thematic sub-committees.
“If the cooperating partners delay again to give us resources, the thematic sub-committees may fail to sit as per our plan,” said Mwonzora, a lawyer by profession.
The outreach programme was initially meant to conclude last October then followed by the appointment of a committee to begin writing the draft constitution.
However, the constitutional outreach meetings in Harare were suspended after incidences of violence, intimidation and racism, with both Zanu PF and MDC-T blaming each other. No timelines have been set for the completion of the constitution-making process.
Zanu PF activists continued to hold “consultative” meetings on the constitution while MDC-T president and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai declared a constitutional crisis.
In an eventful period, Copac drivers and technicians also went on strike demanding their allowances, delaying outreach meetings.
Under the Global Political Agreement signed by President Robert Mugabe (Zanu PF), Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and Arthur Mutambara (MDC), a new constitution should precede fresh elections to replace the coalition pact.