CONSTITUTION WATCH 21/2010
[21st September 2010]
COPAC Outreach Meetings: Statistics as at 12th September
The table below gives details of meetings from the beginning of the outreach on 23rd June up to 12th September. Attendance figures are the official ones from the COPAC Secretariat.
Completed meetings: Meetings in Mashonaland East have been completed.
Ongoing Meetings: Meetings are not yet finished in Kariba, Rushinga, Beit Bridge, Umguza, Gokwe and Buhera districts. Also, “mopping-up meetings” are underway to cover rural wards in other provinces where scheduled meetings were called off or not completed – dates and venues are being arranged at provincial level, and were not available from the COPAC central office. There will also be new meetings scheduled for some wards in the Harare metropolitan area where meetings over the weekend had to be cancelled because of violent disruptions – the dates for the replacement meetings are still to be announced.
All meetings are expected to be completed by the end of next week.
Meetings Held 23rd June to 12th September
No. of Meetings
No. of Participants
No. of Males
No. of Females
No. of Youths
No. of Special Needs
Average attendance per meeting
- Women’s attendance slightly outweighs attendance by men.
- Youth attendance figures are considerably lower than the estimated percentage of youth in the population. This has been acknowledged by COPAC, which has announced that there will be special outreach meetings for youth over the weekend 25th-26th September at venues to be announced.
- Youth and special needs attendance figures are not broken down by gender.
- Provincial statistics only: The statistics made available by COPAC are for provinces only. They give no idea of the incidence of high and low attendance per district or ward [meetings were arranged on a meeting per ward basis]. ZZZICOMP [the network set up by Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Zimbabwe Peace Project and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to monitor the constitution-making process] have attempted to remedy this shortcoming in their reports, as have Crisis Coalition and Sokwanele. ZZZICOMP’s latest report [for 8th to 22nd August] refers to some meetings in Matabeleland attended by only approximately 20 people and contrasts that with meetings attended by very large numbers in Manicaland and Mashonaland [e.g., 1400 and 759]. [Reports available from firstname.lastname@example.org; www.crisiszimbabwe.org; www.sokwanele.com]
- High attendance at some meetings may make it difficult for all who wish to do so to contribute; it suggests that more meetings should have been scheduled for the areas concerned. There have also been reports of busloads arriving from areas outside the ward where a meeting is held.
- Low attendance at some meetings could well be the result of poor arrangements and poor communication. There is a suspicion in some areas that this was deliberate marginalisation. COPAC should think of revisiting these areas after giving proper prior notice.
ZZZICOMP’s reports provide a fuller picture of what has actually been happening at a wide sample of meetings. Examples are listed of other aspects of the outreach not captured by the COPAC statistics, such as: cancellation/disruption of meetings; bussing in of non-residents; obvious coaching of participants by political parties; intimidation and harassment; monopolisation of meetings by representatives of one political party, etc. One report states “Close analysis of provincial comments by ZZZICOMP suggest there is high risk that most of the decisions that are passed as “unanimously agreed” may be accounted by fear of retribution after the meetings.”
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