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Concerns Ahead of Zimbabwe Constitutional Outreach Process in Harare

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Harare Residents Trust Coordinator Precious Shumba said his organization is concerned that activists of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF are mobilizing to attend and dominate meetings with prepared responses

Some civic groups in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare said the parliamentary select committee on constitutional revision has not done enough to inform the public on the many public outreach meetings to be held this coming weekend in Harare and second-city Bulawayo.

Harare Residents Trust Coordinator Precious Shumba said his organization is also concerned that activists of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF are mobilizing to attend and dominate meetings with prepared responses supporting the party's positions on the new constitution.

Shumba challenged a statement Monday by Gladys Gombami Dube, deputy chairwoman of the select committee, saying the panel was running ads publicizing meeting venues and times.

Shumba said non-governmental organizations are doing most public-awareness work.

The activist told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that Harare Residents Trust learned from various sources that intimidation structures set up by ZANU-PF in 2008 at the time of the abortive elections held amidst a climate of often-deadly violence are being revived.

Organizers said venues and times will be announced after an organizational meeting Wednesday.

But political sources said ZANU-PF Harare province officials are pressuring the committee to hold just one outreach meeting per ward rather than two as the committee has proposed.

Select Committee Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora said the question of how many meetings would be held in each ward would be taken up on Wednesday as final schedules are set.

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