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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • COPAC to address low participation by youths in outreach meetings
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
    August 19, 2010

    COPAC with the support of organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is set to organize separate outreach meetings specifically targeting the youth. These meetings will afford the youth a platform to add their voice to the constitution and also to talk broadly about the challenges they are facing.

    According to a statement released on the 17th of August 2010 by COPAC, a total of 358 000 people have attended the outreach meetings thus far and of these only 69 500 were youths. This means that youth only make up 19,4% of the total of the attendees whereas youths make up 41% of Zimbabwe's total population. This low attendance has been attributed to a number of factors including fear to talk openly because of the violence and intimidation that has been associated with the outreach meetings or the fact that the majority of youth are either in schools and tertiary institutions and are thus unable to attend the meetings.

    According to COPAC Co-Chairperson Honorable Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, "Copac is aware of the situation affecting particularly the youth and is in the process of planning special meetings in various school and institutions primarily targeting the youth." Hon. Mangwana also indicated that Copac is aware of incidents like that which occurred at Mutambara Mission on the 28th July 2010 where school children were chased away from the meeting by members of the community on the ground that they did not belong to that community.

    Copac has also indicated that there are plans to conduct consultative meetings with differently abled groups in their institutions such as Kapota School for the Blind, Jairos Jiri and Danhiko Trust. Hon. Mangwana noted that their input into the constitution is as important as that of any other Zimbabwean. He noted that the number of meetings could be limited by funding as the constitution making process is mainly donor funded.

    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition commends efforts by COPAC to include youths and the differently abled in the constitution making process. However, the Coalition calls upon COPAC to ensure that the initiative is not abused by political parties, particularly ZANU PF which has in the past used graduates of the youth training camps to influence political processes. The initiative should thus benefit genuine youths and not masqueraders.

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