Wednesday, June 23, 2010

By Media and Publications Officer

It is already 1530hours and a handful of Bulawayo’s Ward 1 residents who had turned up for a Constitutional outreach meeting are growing impatient and some are already leaving the gates of the Large City Hall as the Constitutional Select Committee on the Constitution (COPAC) Outreach team has failed to turn up.

Habakkuk Trust was at the venue of the first Constitutional Outreach meeting in Bulawayo for a meeting that was scheduled to start at 1400 hours. This was according to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution (COPAC) press announcement in the radio news bulletin earlier today.

Disappointed residents were seen leaving the meeting venue in turns, as hopes for the team’s arrival started waning. There was no communication whatsoever on the cancellation or likely delay of the meeting.

Meanwhile a Habakkuk Trust snap survey done in Ward 1’s residential areas earlier today revealed that the majority of the Ward residents were not aware of the meeting. Of the 89 residents who participated in the snap survey 80 confessed that they were not aware that there was such a meeting in their ward today at 1400 hours. Only 8 residents claimed to be aware of the meeting whilst one was not sure of the actual date of the meeting. One resident who spoke on condition of anonymity even suggested that COPAC should also put notices in the World Cup Fan Parks since these days most people visit those areas for the soccer matches.
There are unconfirmed reports that in Bulawayo and Harare the whole process will be postponed until after the end of the World Cup.

COMMENT: It is with great concern that Bulawayo Ward 1 residents’ were today denied their constitutional freedom of expression due to the COPAC Outreach Team’s failure to turn up for this important meeting.
Habakkuk Trust has been keeping close tabs on the unfolding of the Outreach process and is not surprised about the latest chaos. Earlier this week there was also confusion regarding the accreditation of the teams in Bulawayo and Gwanda. Media reports went on to reveal that there was a likelihood of another delay in the process following non-payment of allowances and hotel accommodation for some teams.

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