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Zimbabwe Constitution Teams Evicted From Midlands Province Hotels Over Payments

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Civil society monitors said a Masvingo district administrator went into hiding this week after being threatened by ZANU-PF youth militia members for saying the new constitution should give the prime minister executive powers

Problems continued in Zimbabwe's constitutional revision outreach process Tuesday as 140 outreach team members lost accommodations in Midlands province as they were evicted from five hotels and lodges in Gweru over non-payment of fees, though organizers said their bookings had expired.

Team leader Amos Chibaya, a lawmaker of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the team members lost the rooms because they were only booked through Monday. He said they would check into better situated accommodations later on.

Elsewhere, civil society groups monitoring the process said Masvingo District Administrator Bernard Hadzirabwi went into hiding this week after being threatened by ZANU-PF youth militia members for saying in an outreach meeting at Chivi Center a fortnight ago that the new constitution should give the prime minister executive powers.

ZANU-PF supports a strong president and proposed to abolish the office of prime minister, whereas the Movement for Democratic Change wants an executive prime minister in a parliamentary system with a ceremonial president.

From eastern Manicaland province came a report that a civil society monitor was detained on Friday by police for more than three hours after ZANU-PF supporters at an outreach meeting at the Dumba business center in Mutasa North constituency accused him of not belonging to the local community.

Other Manicaland sources said army officers in the province ordered troops to attend outreach meetings in Chimanimani and Mutasa districts with prepared talking points. The officers ordered the soldiers not to wear uniforms and to make sure the talking points of the outreach session were in line with ZANU-PF positions.

Masvingo province outreach team leader Edmore Hamandishe said he was threatened by two state security agents on Tuesday when he barred them from a meeting at Chinyanga Primary School in Gutu West. Hamandishe, a member of the House for Gutu North from the Tsvangirai MDC formation, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the two men said they were with state security and above access rules, threatening him with non-specific action.

From Kadoma, Mashonaland West, VOA Studio 7 correspondent Sylvia Manika reported the women are voicing high expectations of the constitutional revision which they hope will improve their lives in a number of ways.

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