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Zimbabwe Constitution Process Resumes After war Veterans Leader Sibanda Leaves Masvingo

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Sources in Mashonaland West province said war veterans were threatening to seize land from resettled farmers if they failed to back ZANU-PF positions on the new Zimbabwean constitution in public outreach sessions

The parliamentary committee in charge of revising Zimbabwe's constitution ruled this week that liberation war veteran firebrand Jabulani Sibanda, accused of intimidating villagers in Masvingo province, should leave the province.

Parliamentary Select Committee Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora said ZANU-PF and both wings of the Movement for Democratic change agreed Sibanda should be ordered out in the interest of the public outreach process.

Sibanda is accused of terrorizing villagers in Bikita West to ensure they adopt positions favored by the former ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe. He has also been accused by MDC officials of being involved in last Friday's burning of the home of a local official of the MDC branch led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Outreach meetings resumed in Masvingo on Wednesday after MDC team members ended a boycott over the alleged abuses by Sibanda. The team members accused Sibanda of threatening their supporters at a rally at Mashoko Business Center last week in addition to playing a role in the alleged home arson.

Tsvangirai MDC team leader and Zaka Central legislator Harrison Mudzuri told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that team members were pleased Sibanda has left the province.

Elsewhere, sources in Mashonaland West province said war veterans were threatening to seize land from resettled farmers if they failed to back ZANU-PF positions on the new constitution. The reports followed an incident in Karoi on Wednesday where sources said eight villagers were ejected from a meeting at the Cornerstone Shopping Center for expressing views on the constitution contrary to those urged upon them by war veterans.

Sources said the eight were accused of being from outside the area but only after they had voiced their opinions.

The sources said the eight people initially refused to leave the meeting but were forced to go when a commotion ensued. MDC senator and outreach team member John Mahlaba said such incidents were on the rise and that war veterans were calling morning meetings before outreach sessions to instruct people what to say.

Meetings in Mashonaland East and Central, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces failed to take place Wednesday due to fuel shortages among outreach teams. Some sources said donors failed to come up with funds on time. Committee Co-Chair Mwonzora said the meetings will pick up Thursday as the government is meeting fuel costs.

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