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Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF Says NGOs, West Sabotaging Constitution Rewrite Process


ZANU-PF's governing partner, the Movement for Democratic Change, has accused war veterans and other groups aligned with ZANU-PF of disrupting the ongoing public outreach program or suppressing divergent views

The former ruling ZANU-PF party of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has accused Western governments of trying to sabotage the country's troubled constitutional revision process.

ZANU-PF's governing partner, the Movement for Democratic Change, has accused war veterans and other groups aligned with ZANU-PF of disrupting the ongoing public outreach program or suppressing views other than those they favor. Amnesty international has warned violence could escalate, discrediting the process.

Paul Mangwana, ZANU-PF co-chairman of the parliamentary select Committee responsible for the constitutional revision process, says the atmosphere has been positive and meetings held in an environment of peace. Mangwana claimed there has been no violence associated with the exercise.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that non-governmental groups are working with Western governments to derail the constitutional revision process.

But spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said it is clear that ZANU-PF supporters are responsible for disturbances of outreach meetings.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said that despite widespread confusion, logistical hitches and intimidation, the process must go on so that a new constitution can be drafted.

Crisis Coalition spokesman Sydney Chisi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the parliamentary committee in charge has to muster up the political will to run the process efficiently.

Residents in Mutoko, Mashonaland East province, were said to be shying away from public outreach meetings because they think they are political meetings that may bring them trouble.

Zimbabwe United Residents Association member John Tafira, monitoring meetings in Mutoko, said intimidation by ZANU-PF supporters is most prevalent in rural villages where headmen tell people what to say in meetings.

The process has run more smoothly in Matabeleland than in the politically charged Mashonaland region.

Believe Gaule, constitutional outreach leader for Bulawayo and Matabeleland North, said his team has joined the Matabeleland South outreach team in the exercise, adding that they will combine their resources to conduct the exercise in Bulawayo, regional capital, once the 2010 World Cup is done.

Gaule told VOA reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that the teams have completed the outreach exercise in Gwanda in Matabeleland South and Hwange in Matabeleland North, and are headed Insiza in Matabeleland South.

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