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Zimbabwe Police Block Tsvangirai Constitution Campaign Rally

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Zimbabwe police on Tuesday stopped Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai from addressing a meeting in Highfield suburb where he was set to officially launch the 'Yes Vote' campaign in Harare ahead of next week’s constitutional referendum.

The Movement for Democratic Change’s Harare spokesperson, Senator Obert Gutu, told VOA the meeting had been given the green light by the police as required by the country’s dreaded Public Order and Security Act.

“But I was surprised when we arrived in Highfield to realize that the police were saying that the prime minister should not address the meeting ... This despite the fact that they had been notified by Honourable Ian Makone from the Prime Minister’s Office” said Gutu.

Gutu said the MDC leadership at the venue decided to stop holding the meeting after noticing that there were too many people at risk as the the police threatened to use teargas to break the rally.

Mr. Tsvangirai launched his party’s 'Vote Yes' campaign Saturday in Gweru where he urged Zimbabweans to go out in their numbers to support the draft charter saying it guaranteed their rights.

In a related development, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has warned Zimbabwean teachers to demand contracts ahead of the constitutional referendum and national elections expected later in the year.

PTUZ general secretary Raymond Majongwe told VOA Studio 7 this will protect the teachers from abuse as the government has in the past failed to pay them for working in national processes like the population census.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution COPAC says despite draft constitution copies being in short supply due to financial limitations, the awareness campaign it is carrying out is going on smoothly.

COPAC co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Tsvangirai said they are hopeful that the campaign will cover the whole districts in the country by March 7 of this month when it concludes the exercise

But some people from areas like Mukumbura in Mount Darwin North and Manicaland Province told Studio 7 they were yet to get hold of the copies.

Co-chairman Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana of Zanu-PF said they might push the awareness campaign deadline from Thursday to Friday to allow the program to reach all corners of the country that were supposed to be covered by the MDC formation of Industry Minister Welshman Ncube wchi pulled out of the awareness program.