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Harare Residents Express Anger Over Delayed Constitutional Outreach Meetings


About 40 Harare outreach meetings were called off on the weekend of September 18-19 after they were disrupted - violently in a number of cases - by alleged militants of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party

Residents of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare are expressing anger at the postponement of constitutional revision outreach meetings canceled last month and continued confusion as to when they will be rescheduled.

Harare Residents Trust Coordinator Precious Shumba said some residents are thinking about protesting at the offices of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Revising the Constitution to demand the suspended meetings be held.

About 40 Harare outreach meetings were called off on the weekend of September 18-19 after they were disrupted - violently in a number of cases - by alleged militants of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

One member of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai died of injuries sustained in a melee that weekend in the densely populated Harare suburb of Mbare.

Public meetings on the new constitution were left until the end of the outreach process which began in June, in part because the World Cup unfolding in South Africa represented a major distraction.

The constitutional panel has issued conflicting reports on when the canceled Harare meetings will be reconvened. The latest proposed new date to be circulated is October 16, but security for such meetings remains a concern.

Community organizer Shumba told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that Harare residents are starting to think the delays in rescheduling meetings reflect a ploy to deny them their democratic rights.

Harare has long been a stronghold of the Movement for Democratic Change.

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