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Zimbabwe Civic Groups Voice Concern On Unclear Political Environment

Recommendations from the civil society consultation were to be presented on Wednesday to cabinet ministers, leaders of the main political parties and ambassadors from SADC and European Union countries

Zimbabwean civil society representatives are voicing concern about what they describe as a confused political environment with some parties calling for new elections before a constitutional revision is completed, and others calling for “Yes” or “No” votes in a looming constitutional referendum when no constitutional draft as yet exists.

About 150 civil society delegates met in Harare on Tuesday to come up with a common position and strategy on the general political impasse within the Harare unity government and the country at large.

Organized by the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations and the Southern African Development Community Council of NGOs, the gathering brought together civic activists, church and business leaders.

Organizers said members of the Joint Operation Monitoring Implementation Committee, a body created to report on compliance by parties in the unity government with the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing - but which has not had any significant role in mediating the political turmoil within the government - would also take part.

Recommendations from the meeting were to be presented Wednesday to ministers, leaders of the main political parties and ambassadors from SADC and European Union countries.

NANGO Deputy Director Muchinda Marongwe told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere the meeting was prompted by concern about the country’s “confused” direction. Youth Initiative Director Sidney Chisi said the present environment no longer reflects the concerns of Zimbabweans but revolves around the objectives of political interests.

Elsewhere, the Platform for Youth Development warned that calls for new elections by top unity government figures without broad reforms are dangerous, saying elections should only be held once a new constitution is in place.

The group said the constitutional revision process under way for most of this year has failed by excluding youth at every level, warning that it is the moral right of youth to reject the new constitution in an eventual referendum.

Group Secretary General Clifford Hlatywayo told reporter Tatenda Gumbo that political parties have mobilized youth to commit violence while the parliamentary committee in charge of revision had no strategy to involve youth.