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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • COPAC outreach meetings: Statistics as at 12th September - Constitution Watch 20/2010
    September 21, 2010

    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

    Province No. of Meetings No. of Participants No. of Males No. of Females No. of Youths No. of Special Needs Average attendance per meeting
    Mash East 514 133 485 46 505 53 150 32 800 1 030 260
    Mash West 498 104 314 45 715 37 963 20 353 283 209
    Manicaland 556 102 974 40 564 46 216 15 388 806 185
    Mat South 308 31 205 12 983 13 704 4 387 131 101
    Mash Central 567 130 340 44 671 49 628 35 194 847 230
    Mat North 467 36 793 15 192 14 030 7 358 213 78
    Masvingo 531 103 040 39711 44 021 18 734 574 194
    Midlands 555 71 971 32 468 28 885 10 286 332 130
    TOTAL 3 996 714 122 277 809 287 597 144 500 4216 185
          38.9% 40.27% 20.23% 0.59%  

    1. Women’s attendance slightly outweighs attendance by men.

    2. 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.

    3. Youth and special needs attendance figures are not broken down by gender.

    4. 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].

    5. 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.

    6. 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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