COPAC Financial Woes Troubling

– The Constitutional Parliamentary select committee has revealed that there is low moral among the outreach team members due to lack of financial support for the programme. According to COPAC representatives who met Bulawayo Civic Society leaders under the Matabeleland Civic Society Consortium in Bulawayo on Thursday, the situation is so bad that some members are being forced to folk out money from their own pockets.
Unconfirmed reports also state that some team members are being forced to share hotel rooms while in other areas some have been thrown out for non payments. The Consortium has raised concern over this stating that it is a stumbling block to the smooth running of the programme. Furthermore it is feared that disgruntled team members may not do their best to capture correctly the discussions at outreach meetings.
There have been disturbing reports in the by the local newspapers that the UNDP has declined to extend its funding of US$8million for an extra 25 days that have been added to the outreach programme. The question that arises then is whether this marks the end of the programme or government will be willing to chip in with a supplementary budget so that the programme continues to ensure the success of this historic constitution making process?
Statistics Gathering a cause for concern Other troubling news is in the manner of recording the number of people attending these meetings. COPAC revealed that the number of participants at meetings was a rough estimate arrived at by the team members. This means that they look at the size of the crowd and estimate how many men, women and youths could be at that particular meeting. This is a very clumsy way of collecting data. Last week’s youth alert reproduced a table of statistics released by COPAC on the number of people who have attended meetings so far only to be told that these are rough estimates.
While a formal registration process has been dismissed as being intimidating to residents especially in the rural areas where political violence is likely, even primitive methods like having each person drop a pebble into a container as they walk in, for counting later on, should be considered and could work better. Three or four containers would simply be labelled men, women, youths, special needs and the stones collected afterwards counted for specific numbers.
The big question now is how do the teams determine the number of youths from just looking at a large crowd?


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