Furore over Copac national report's authenticity
Harare, Zimbabwe -A Copac national report published by The Herald yesterday has triggered furore, with MDC-T dismissing it while other parties in the inclusive Government confirmed its authenticity.
MDC-T spokesperson and Copac co-chairperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora branded the report a "Zanu-PF document".
But, Copac co-chairperson Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana challenged Mr Mwonzora to produce a report contrary to the one published yesterday.
"That is the correct national statistical report with the people's views, their frequency and the percentage they were supported during the outreach programme."
He said the report represented the people's views from the 1 950 wards across Zimbabwe.
"Mr Mwonzora should produce his own report, but all we know is that he has been trying very hard to suppress the people's views.
"The narrative report is yet to be published, but how the media got that report is none of our concern. Whether it was WikiLeaks or whatever means, that is the correct report," he said.
What is critical, Cde Mangwana said, were the people's views and how much support they got during the meetings.
In separate interviews, Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo and MDC-Copac co-chairperson Mr Edward Mkosi confirmed the authenticity of the report.
Cde Gumbo denied reports that Zanu-PF leaked the report to the Press, adding that its authenticity and accuracy was not questionable.
"I have consulted with our Copac co-chairperson Cde Paul Mangwana and he said the document itself was accurate and authentic," he said.
"He (Cde Mangwana) said the report actually reflected the views captured during the outreach programme. There is no question about its authenticity but it is not true to say that the report was done by Zanu-PF alone."
He said Cde Mangwana had indicated that the report had been handed over to many people, making it difficult to identify those responsible for the leak.
The views captured in the national report were mostly in line with the Zanu-PF position paper, making MDC-T uncomfortable about the possible outcome of the whole constitution-making process.
Cde Gumbo said Zanu-PF was aware of MDC-T machinations to twist the people's views.
He urged people to carefully study their views in the national report.
"The report, as it is, truly reflects what people expressed during the outreach programme," he said.
"We are aware that there are some officials who are now working in cahoots with the MDC-T to try and drop certain critical issues such as the land issue and bring in issues such as dual citizenship."
There was an attempt to equate citizenship by birth with citizenship by descent and allow whites to have a say in Zimbabwe's affairs.
"In this regard, I urge people to study their views in the national report and ask Copac if those issues are not included in the final draft constitution."
Cde Gumbo challenged MDC-T to produce the actual Copac national report if they have a different document.
Mr Mkosi said the report was genuine, but could not be used as the basis for crafting the new constitution.
"It is not true to say the report is a Zanu-PF document," he said.
"That document is only a statistical report showing how many times a certain issue was raised during outreach. It is a Copac report but on its own it makes little sense. It needs a narrative for it to make sense."
Mr Mwonzora, however, disassociated his party from the report insisting it was fake.
He said a Copac document should be signed by all three co-chairpersons and published in all the newspapers.
Mr Mwonzora said the published report left out the views of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and other special interest groups such as the disabled and children.
"From the reading of the report, it appears that the information written was obtained in the wards in Zimbabwe," he said.
"This means that this report does not contain the views from the Diaspora, institutional submissions, people living with disabilities and views from Members of Parliament.
"It is common cause that Copac obtained views from these sources besides the public meetings.
"In so far as it completely omits information from these critical sources, it can not purport to be a Copac document."
Mr Mwonzora said the report published in The Herald wanted to give the impression that some issues were frequently raised by people and as such they should be used as the basis for the formulation of the new constitution.
He said the report was leaked by a faction in Zanu-PF that was afraid of elections and possible outcome of the constitution-making process.
"No member of the authorised Copac staff submitted any report to The Herald," he said.
"It is therefore clear that this report is a Zanu-PF document written and submitted by the faction of Zanu-PF that is fighting against the drafters in the constitution-making process.
"It appears that this is the work of some individuals who are panicking about the possible outcome of the drafting process."
Mr Mwonzora said the drafters had not stopped work, but they formally informed Copac of a festive season break. He said they will resume work on January 3 next year. The Herald