COPAC accused of blowing US$100 000 a week

The parliamentary select committee (COPAC), tasked with coming up with a new constitution, is being accused of blowing almost US$100 000 a week in accommodation, travel and sitting allowances for its members


A report in the weekly Zimbabwe Independent newspaper quoted a source who said: “Committee members are receiving US$125 a day each as sitting allowances; getting full-board accommodation in five-star hotels or lodges that cost around US$200 a day, and receive fuel allocation for transport.”

In addition the 15-man technical team assisting the three drafters to write the constitution is said to be receiving higher allowances. According to Douglas Mwonzora, one of the COPAC co-chairs, the allowances being paid had been agreed to by Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.

“COPAC does not set its own salaries and allowances. The allowances are set by the management committee which is made up of the representatives of the principals as well as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),” Mwonzora said.

At the ZANU PF conference in December last year, party leader Robert Mugabe threatened to undermine the constitution-making process if the draft did not include ZANU PF's position. With the process now at drafting stage, ZANU PF has already betrayed the fact they feel the MDC-T positions have dominated.

Early this month War vets leader Jabulani Sibanda, called on Mugabe to dissolve parliament and announce a date for fresh elections. Sibanda, notorious for his tour of terror in the Masvingo and Manicaland provinces, claimed COPAC had failed to deliver a draft constitution which is acceptable to them.

Accusations that COPAC are deliberately delaying the constitution making process to make more money for its members, have provided ammunition to ZANU PF and its support structures including the war vets.

Meanwhile it’s been revealed that the majority of people who contributed in the constitutional outreach want the maximum age for a presidential candidate to be 70 years. Although it’s unlikely such a clause will be incorporated into the draft, it would have meant Mugabe, at 88 this year, would not be able to stand.

Such a clause would also mean Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) leader Dumiso Dabengwa, 73 this year, would not be able to stand. A source told SW Radio Africa that “at this stage only the three drafters know what sort of clauses have been incorporated into the draft. All this talk of age limits is just speculation.” - SW Radio Africa News

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