The Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement brought ZANU-PF and the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) together a few years ago into a unity government. The agreement calls for putting a draft constitution to a referendum. If the constitution is accepted, new elections would bring this interim government to an end. A Constitutional Select Committee was set up to oversee the process, and up to 70 outreach teams have been dispatched around the country to conduct the outreach program.
The national unity government began a series of community outreach meetings in June called the Constitutional Outreach Program to elicit popular views on a new constitution. Not so surprisingly, the meetings have been marred by increasing violence and intimidation, mainly by supporters of Zimbabwe’s African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and war veterans allied to ZANU-PF, the former sole ruling party. In the past few days, the violence has worsened, as the outreach meetings have moved to the capital, Harare, and the city of Bulawayo. Because of the violence, 13 meetings in Harare were suspended.
The Human Rights Watch received reports of violence in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mashonaland West, and Mashonaland East during the outreach process. The attacks were reportedly perpetrated by ZANU-PF officials and supporters against villagers, perceived supporters of the MDC, and civil society activists who were monitoring the process.
The chairman of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, Mr. Wellington Mbofana said that there are so many incidents that have happened during the time of the constitutional outreach. The non-governmental organisation spokesman said that they recorded more than 800 issues of political and human rights abuses mostly by the former ruling party ZANU PF against members of Movement of Democratic Change (MDC).
In Manicaland, a number of men, women and children including Enia Chiwara, the MDC Information and Publicity secretary for Ward 27 in Makoni South, Manicaland province, were assaulted at a Zanu PF meeting in the area on Thursday. Chiwara was asked to attend a developmental meeting in the area but when she got to the venue she discovered it was a Zanu PF meeting. She was barred from leaving the meeting and was instead told to buy a Zanu PF membership card for US$1 but she refused saying she was an MDC member and did not require a Zanu PF membership card. She was then assaulted and had to seek medical attention at the Nyazura clinic.
The involvement of traditional leaders in ZANU PF politics has been a practice that started way back in 1980 after Independence. Although over the years some of the chiefs have been brave enough to realign themselves from ZANU PF to the MDC.
This shows you how fractured ZANU PF is in the rural areas. Chiefs, headmen and village heads are now the foot soldiers for the party. This gives you an idea of how far the party will go to try and reclaim power at all costs even if its structures are in serious decline.
Are we ever going to shake some sense out of anyone who is still supporting Zanu Pf? I know for a fact that they (Zanu Pf supporters) are only there for personal reasons only. Whoever said that power corrupts and that was one hundred percent correct? The ignorant mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions, and evils, is rooted in the three poisons namely Greed, anger, and delusion.
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