Intimidation, Harassment Mar Zim Constitutional Debate

The villagers have also been warned against being ‘’misguided’’ ahead of the consitution outreach programme.

The roll call was aimed at sniffing out villagers who get ”poisoned influence” during the constitution outreach programme.

Villagers have also been told to shun rural professionals such as teachers and nurses in discussing constitution making inputs as they were likely to be misled by them.

At Hwiyo village under Chief Chundu, headman Mangwaira notified his subjects that they should seek permision to travel with valid reasons.

”We have to notify headman Mangwaira every Monday of our intended visits for the next three months because we do not know when these outreach teams will visit our centres” said a villager who only identified himself as Norbert.

Hwiyo is situated about 50 kilometres south of Karoi town.

He said villagers were told to support Zanu (PF) position paper that gives executive powers to the President saying the Prime Minister post was ”foreign to African politics”.

Villagers were asked to support the two vice presidents to keep the unity accord signed between Zanu (PF) and PF Zapu alive.

In Hurungwe Central, covering Vuti resettlement scheme established in the mid 80s, Zanu (PF) MP Godfrey Beremauro addressed farmers saying: ”We must fight for our land and call for 99 year lease agreements”.

Beremauro is moving around with youths  from Karoi and Tengwe who are the only ones allowed to make contributions to the constitutional debate.

Sara Mahoka, MP for Hurungwe East covering resettled farms in Tengwe,  threatened that ‘’Zanu (PF) will not accept the outcome that will not support its ideologies on land and independence from the Western forces”.

She reportedly told new farmers that the party will disrupt anything that ‘’defies Zanu PF”.

Mahoka and Beremauro confirmed that they were alerting ”party supporters on party demands”.

However, a recent constitution road-show by Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) enlightened Magunje villagers who said they were in the dark of what was going on.

CCDZ was advocating for separation of powers between the executive, judiciary, and the legislature, a comprehensive Bill of Rights and limited terms of president for two 5 year terms.

It also called for recognition of child, women rights and the disabled among other demands supported by civil organisations.

However a teacher based at Magunje bussiness centre observed:‘’Few people will participate in information gathering due to threats but majority will do so during the referendum‘’.

Meanwhile Zanu (PF) smuggled its position paper to prison guards in Chinhoyi on Tuesday with promises to send more to other jails including Karoi, Kadoma, and Hurungwe in the Mashonaland West province so that prison officers may support the ”party position”.

The constitution outreach programme was on Thursday marred by incidences of intimidation, disruptions and no-show in some major towns and cities with Zanu (PF) supporters being fingered in the disruption of a meeting in Chinhoyi.

In Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city, and some parts of Manicaland the constitutional parliamentary outreach committee (COPAC) officials failed to turn up for scheduled meetings
amid unconfirmed reports that the consultative process had been inexplicably aborted due to new logistical and financial problems.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, part of civil society organisations shadowing the outreach process  and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) T said in separate interviews on Thursday to the media that chaos characterised the second day of the outreach programme launched by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Arthur Mutambara.

The MDC T said in Bulawayo the outreach meeting scheduled for  the Bulawayo City Hall did not take place despite the large turn out by residents.

The management committee was said to be facing serious challenges of convening the meetings in the province after members from the Arthur Mutambara led party disrupted the process demanding that the meetings be held after the World Cup.

In Mutare North, war veterans were allegedly in charge of the accreditation of outreach teams and allegedly threatening participants, with all suspected MDC members being turned away from the consultation venues.

In Masvingo an army officer and well known Zanu PF activist, Major Badza, on Thursday reportedly addressed villagers waiting to participate in the constitution consultation meeting in Chivi North at Utete clinic, threatening to deal with them after the meeting if they gave opinions that opposed the Zanu (PF) position.

More than 200 uniformed soldiers alleged marched in Chikangwe and Chiedza suburbs in Karoi, Mashonaland West chanting Zanu (PF) slogans and threatening to bring war to the doorsteps to those who will give different views to those of Zanu PF in the constitution consultation meetings.

In Matabeleland North, the process had also been delayed as the province is said to be still recruiting drivers and repertoires for the outreach team.

In Chinhoyi all hell broke loose at about 1130am on Wednesday when an unidentified elderly Zanu (PF) male supporter led a group of youths in an orgy of violence, disrupting proceedings at Gadzema Domestic Signs Crèche.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said teams deployed to monitor the process in Bindura (Mashonaland East) and Gweru (Midlands) had not begun by 12noon Thursday.

The three principals have appealed for tolerance and peace during the troubled outreach exercise.

In Mutare police arrested three ZZICOMP monitors who were monitoring the constitution making process in Manicaland.

ZZICOMP is a joint project of Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) set up independently monitor the constitution-making process.

Two monitors Tapera Maverevheredze and Godfrey Nyarota and their driver, who was only identified as Cornelius were arrested on Thursday while monitoring the constitution making process in Mukuni, Mutare North. They were detained at Mutare Central Police Station.

On Friday the police detained Enddy Ziyera, a ZZICOMP coordinator for Manicaland Province, who had visited the two monitors to deliver food to them.

The three monitors are part of the 420 monitors deployed in the country’s 10 provinces to shadow the parliament-led constitution-making process.