Zimbabwe's troubled constitutional revision process and the fractious national unity government faced the risk of further turmoil after word from police that they intend to charge a chairmen of Parliament's select committee on constitutional revision with insulting President Robert Mugabe two years ago.
Select Committee Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the Movement for Democratic Change wing led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was supposed to appear in court on Monday on charges he called Mr. Mugabe a "goblin” during a 2008 rally, warning the president he would soon be on the run.
Mwonzora, House member for Nyanga North, was said to have refused to take a summons from police in August, but his lawyer and authorities have agreed that he will stand trial on October 29.
MDC sources said the charges reflect an effort by ZANU-PF hardliners to frustrate the former opposition party, sabotage the constitutional revision process and undermine the unity government.
Mwonzora told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu the move by police was disturbing.
The constitutional outreach process continued, meanwhile, with about 75 percent of meetings scheduled in the provinces now held and the exercise in Harare, the capital, and Bulawayo, the country's second-largest city, slated to unfold on the weekend of September 18-19.
Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that outreach teams were mopping up around the country with only one or two districts each to complete at this point, while looking to cap the exercise in the two largest cities.
In Mashonaland West province, sources said ZANU-PF constitutional outreach rapporteur Beauty Lilly Zhuwawo, wife of Patrick Zhuwawo, nephew of President Mugabe, attacked outreach team leader Bednock Nyaude, lawmaker for the Tsvangirai MDC for Bindura South, in a dispute said to have arisen over the replacement of an absent ZANU-PF team member.
Sources said the alleged attack occurred at the district administrator’s offices in Kadoma in full public view as outreach teams were preparing to leave for their meetings in the district.
Provincial outreach team leader Editor Matamisa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that she had compiled a report and would be sending it to the committee's three co-chairmen for action.