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  • Report on Harare, Chitungwiza COPAC meetings
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

    November 15, 2010

    From the 30th to the 31st of October 2010, the Constitutional Parliamentary Select committee (COPAC) reconvened outreach meetings in Harare and Chitungwiza following disturbances on the 18th and 19th of September which resulted in postponement of the meetings.

    Initial findings reveal that;

    • There was relatively high attendance and participation
    • Cases of bussing were recorded in most areas
    • The police managed to contain disagreements during meetings and as such a less passive role as compared to the September meetings
    • There was evidence of coaching as some participants were reading from prepared scripts
    • Isolated cases of violence were reported.
    • Intimidation was generally high with alleged ZANU PF supporters threatening unspecified action against vocal participants

    Please find attached a table with with information on 38 COPAC meetings monitored by The Coalition in Harare and Chitungwiza

    Tadzikamidzi Primary School (Chitungwiza) 6 80 Initially 120 people gathered for the meeting, however, owing to disturbances by suspected ZANU PF youths allegedly bussed from Mbare who were chanting party slogans, close to 40 people abandoned the meeting.
    Off topic debates also characterized the meeting with some participants arguing that Traditional chiefs should all be given gold watches and badges as a sign of respect.
    The meeting also saw participants clashing over their different views.
    Tangenhamo Primary School (Chitungwiza) 7 300 COPAC arrived at the meeting around 1100 hours instead of 0900 hours. The monitor noted that there were generally high levels of participation.
    Violence almost broke out as some participants questioned the impartiality of one COPAC team leader who allowed the same people to make contributions over and over again.
    There were allegations of bussing raised by some participants resulting in the ejection of people, believed to be from outside Chitungwiza, from the meeting by the police.
    Seke 2 High School (Chitungwiza) 20 70 Known war veterans in the area caused havoc and commotion questioning why COPAC was reconvening the meeting. The police however managed to contain the situation and the meeting proceeded.
    The atmosphere was highly politicized and this was evident from the sitting arrangement which was according to party status. The observer noted that if a participant from one side contributed that side clapped hands while the other side booed them down.
    There were signs of coaching as some participants were reading from prepared scripts.
    Courtney Selous Primary School (Greendale) 9 130 Participation was high and participants contributed freely. The monitor reported that two commuter omnibuses dropped people at the venue. Conversely the presence of suspected members of the Central Intelligence Office was reported as intimidating to some participants.
    Maguta Secondary School (Ruwa) 1 300 Attendance was high with both men and women expressing their views freely. There was evidence of coaching as a group of participants sitting close together started each contribution with phrases like 'Those who sell the country to the West should be killed and a president should have war credentials'.
    Mabvuku Community Hall 21 200 The environment was rather calm as there was freedom of expression and no cases of intimidation were reported.
    Lewisam Primary School (Highlands) 8 300 Participation at the meeting was reportedly high. However cases of bussing were reported as some participants noted

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