Constitutional Outreach on Verge of Collapse

Constitutional outreach members from all the ten provinces, with drivers and technicians included, are threatening to down their tools due to poor working conditions and a breach of agreements by COPAC.

Barely a month after the launch of the Constitutional Outreach, aimed at coming up with a new constitution under the auspices of the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee, threats of its cessation are growing everyday as problems mount.

Most hotels have either thrown outreach members onto the streets or have withdrawn meals, leaving outreach members with no choice but to go for weeks buying their own meals.

COPAC has failed to come up with a reimbursement scheme or any form of allowance to cover up for their failure to provide full board services, leading to almost everyone affected to complain.

There was pandemonium on Wednesday this week in all provinces when finance officers decided to pay team leaders and rapporteurs, leaving out drivers and technicians.

“How am I expected to buy my own food when I am not being paid in time, it appears COPAC is only considering rapporteurs as important, hence what ever they say is done,” complained one driver in Mashonaland West.

COPAC is also accused of failing to adhere to agreements and are changing the goal posts each day.

A technician in Mutare complained that before the recruitment interviews in Harare, a COPAC member announced a fee of $100 per day however during the interviews an offer of $25 was made, leading to the withdrawal of several qualified technicians.

Realising the magnitude of the problem at hand an urgent meeting was held and a one week contract was entered into, with an agreed fee of $65 – $50 per day and $15 for lunch.

“When we got to our provinces all that disappeared and we are now getting only $50 and very late,” he added.

“COPAC has failed to stick to the contract agreements. Only rapporteurs signed comprehensive ones whilst those for technicians have since expired. Drivers were offered verbal contracts with a fee of $15 and $10 allowance, but surprisingly they are only getting $15,” an MP in Midland said.

“It would appear someone is pocketing some money for his or her own use because of the loopholes in the payment systems, fuel allocation and car hire,” a disgruntled ZANU PF member in Masvingo said

Hotels in Masvingo refused to offer dinner, claiming the fee of $60 bed, breakfast and dinner was non profitable.

However an investigation has revealed that some hotels subcontracted small lodges, which are much cheaper than hotels, for less than $60, although the donor who is funding this the United Nations Development Fund – continues to pay them $60 per head per day.

On Wednesday COPAC head office in Milton Park, Harare was overwhelmed with calls from outreach members who sought explanations, which never came.

In Chinhoyi drivers threatened to park their cars until Mr Kunjeku offered to address teams separately at their hotels. This followed the ousting of some outreach members from the Orange Groove Motel and Chinhoyi Caves Hotel for non payment on Monday.

Affected members were later offered a makeshift home at a Roman Catholic Church and some left in a huff.

Post published in: Politics

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