Two weeks into Zimbabwe's constitutional revision public consultation process, the parliamentary select committee in charge of the operation is seeking US$3 million in supplementary funding for equipment and travel expenses from the government and the United Nations Development Fund, sources said Thursday.
Select Committee Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora told VOA that following a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara about problems in the outreach process, the three governing parties were expected to meet to try to resolve them, especially that of political intimidation violence which has cropped up in certain areas.
In Bindura, Mashonaland Central, state security agents were said to have hijacked the process. Bindura resident Saymore Mhene said security agents had taken over meetings at some locations.
Themba Sibanda, a freelance journalist based in Bulawayo who has been following the outreach in Matabeleland, said participants in meetings have been confused by the talking points outreach teams are using, which present ordinary Zimbabweans with various options that they are sufficiently prepared to assess.
Sibanda said most people in the Sitezi communal lands in Gwanda West district, Plumtree town and the Umguza communal lands have been giving one-word responses as they do not understand the issues.
He said those people undertaking the exercise need to explain such issues to the public.
Branches of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change formation outside Zimbabwe will be launching constitutional revision outreach programs in the next few days despite short funding.
Maxwell Shumba, chairman of the MDC executive committee for the United States, said outreach programs are shortly to begin there as well as in Ireland, Britain and South Africa.
Shumba said his party has received copies of the talking points from outreach organizers. He said the party hopes to involve all Zimbabweans in its outreach drive whatever their political affiliation.
Shumba told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that although the party faces financial challenges it hopes to run programs in most parts of the world.
For perspective on the troubled outreach exercise, VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira turned to Joy Mabenge of the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe and Emelia Muchawa of the Women’s Coalition, who said her organization was concerned that in certain areas the process has not been entirely free.