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UNDP Spurns Additional Funding Request for Zimbabwe's Constitutional Outreach

The UNDP said however, that funding for collating raw data and carrying out the referendum were available.

The United Nations Development Program says it has no additional funding for finalization of public consultations for Zimbabwe's constitution revision exercise.

Sources said UNDP turned down government’s supplementary budget proposal of US$8 million late Monday at a meeting with the parliamentary committee leading the outreach.

The committee was seeking additional funding to see through phase two of the revision exercise, which entails gathering of people's views on what they want included in the new constitution.

The UNDP however, told COPAC leaders that it had no more funds for this particular task. But it said funding for collating raw data and carrying out the referendum were available.

COPAC co-chairman Edward Mkhosi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Brenda Moyo that consequently, they are now seeking permission from the UNDP to divert funds meant for advertising to finish the outreach phase.

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, meanwhile alleged Tuesday that ZANU-PF had set up militia bases in Manicaland Province to intimidate villagers not to participate in outreach meetings.

Deputy party spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that some villagers in the violence-prone area are now staying away, fearing for their lives.

But ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo dismissed the claims saying his party was only operating information centers in Manicaland and not militia bases.

Elsewhere, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association urged people to participate in constitution revision meetings and advocate for the inclusion of economic and social rights in the supreme law of the land.

Zimrights programs co-ordinator, Olivia Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere, the current constitution does not contain these facets despite their importance. She urged people to safeguard their rights.

In other constitution-related news, civic group, Bulawayo Agenda, said morale dampened amongst outreach teams in Bhulu, Matebeleland South Monday after they were served with notices to vacate their hotel rooms over non-payment.

The Bulawayo-based groups said most people at this meeting felt it did not matter whether the country had a prime-minister or not but insisted that whoever had executive powers should have their powers curtailed to avoid vesting too much power in one individual.

In Mbayi, Nkayi, Matebeleland North, Bulawayo Agenda said, attendance was better, with most villagers pressing for the recognition of traditional healers and respect for all local languages.