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Zimbabwe's Constitutional Revision Chiefs to Meet UNDP Seeking More Funding

COPAC co-chairmen Edward Mkhosi said they will be meeting with UNDP officials on Tuesday over the proposed supplementary budget

The parliamentary committe leading Zimbabwe's constitutional revision exercise met Monday to finalise a proposed supplementary budget to see through the consultation process ahead of a crucial meeting with main funders, the United Nations Development Program.

Constitution select committe co-chairmen Edward Mkhosi said they will be meeting with officials from the UNDP on Tuesday to discuss a funding proposal of US$8 million. Government wants the money to cover the remaining phase of the consultations.

"We had a brainstorming session with Constitution Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga today and we will be presenting our supplementary budget to UNDP tomorrow," Mkhosi told VOA.

Consultations in metropolitan Harare and Bulawayo have been pushed back to mid September after outreach teams from Mashonaland Central and East provinces protested a move by the select committee to re-assign them to the two cities before completing work in their provinces.

Funding agreements between the UNDP and COPAC expired last Friday but government is seeking extended funding for 15 more days. But the UNDP is demanding an audit before it can release any additional funding, according to VOA correspondent Irwin Chifera who reported from Harare.

Some COPAC provincial team members say the 15 additional days are not enough as they now have to hold two outreach meetings instead of one per day, thus cutting down the time people are expected to make their contributions.

But, Midlands province COPAC team leader, Amos Chibaya told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that his province wass comfortable with the two week extension.

Elsewhere, director for the Youth Intiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe, Sidney Chisi said there were low levels of participation by youth in outreach meetings allegedly because of fear and intimidation.

COPAC figures show youths accounting for just 19.4% of participants, though they form 41% of the national population.

Chisi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the trend was common in rural areas, where insitutions of violence are deeply entrenched.