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Zimbabwe Suspends Harare Constitutional Sessions After Weekend Clashes

Crisis Coalition spokesman Sidney Chisi said that such disturbances of the constitutional revision process suggested that if general elections were to be held any time soon they too would be marred by violence

The parliamentary committee in charge of the Zimbabwe's often-troubled constitutional revision outreach process on Monday suspended public comment meetings in Harare following violence at a number of sessions held in the capital over the weekend.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Irwin Chifera reported that authorities managing the revision process decided to suspend the exercise at an emergency meeting called Monday to review the situation after the abandonment of a number of meetings due to disruption and outright violence.

Many sources said the disruption and violence was carried out by militants of the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe, some of whom were bused into the capital from rural areas.

Commenting on the disruption of the outreach process, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a civil society umbrella organization, said the turmoil in Harare and elsewhere reflected the struggle for political dominance between the Movement for Democractic Change and ZANU-PF.

Crisis Coalition spokesman Sidney Chisi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that such disturbances indicated that if elections were to be held they would be marred by violence.

University of Zimbabwe constitutional law lecturer Greg Linington said that in light of the problems besetting the outreach process, the exercise is not likely to reflect Zimbabwean sentiment.

Political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube, director of the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda, told VOA reporter Chris Gande that Zimbabweans are likely to vote “No” in the eventual referendum on the constitution given the violence and intimidation that have dogged the process.