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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Constitutional Amendment 18 of 2007 - Index of articles, opinion and anaylsis
society draws divergent views
Henry Makiwa, SW Radio Africa
September 28, 2007
the special index of articles, analysis and opinion on Constitutional
society groups meeting in Bulawayo Saturday, appear to be headed
for a showdown after they expressed varied views concerning the
ongoing political talks between the opposition and ruling Zanu PF
Coming in the
wake of a contentious agreement by the ruling party and the MDC
to see through the constitutional
amendment #18 two weeks ago, the all-stakeholders civil society
meeting has been set to map out the groups' position on the
country's political situation.
Some have criticised
the MDC decision, with the National
Constitution Assembly (NCA) officially cutting ties with the
opposition party, accusing it of "selling out" and "abandoning
the principle of a people-driven constitution".
Some of the
organizations expected to attend the weekend meeting include the
Election Support Network (ZESN), Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition, Zimbabwe Law Society and the Zimbabwe
National Students Union.
Representatives of some
of the groups within the alliance, on Friday distanced themselves
from the NCA's "hard-line" stance against the
MDC, paving way for what could be a heated meeting on Saturday.
Journalist and Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition programmes manager, Pedzisai Ruhanya, recommended
that the civil society leaders consider the opinion of their constituencies
before settling for "any rash decision".
Ruhanya said: "We
recently held consultative meetings in rural Chivi and Hwange. The
people on the ground are saying that the talks must not be rubbished
and must be given a chance as long as they come out with a more
liberal environment under which we can have free and fair elections
He went on to say that
"rubbishing the opposition for its role in endorsing Amendment
18 of the constitution is clearly unpopular among the common people
who have suffered for so long. What they need to see is the repealing
of the draconian laws and the return of a free press and airwaves
before the election."
The NCA has made public
its position that the MDC - which is part of the civil society
alliance - has reneged on the groups' 2005 agreement to refuse
settlements of "piecemeal amendments short of a new, people-driven
Among the concerns is
that the amendment 18, once made into law by Robert Mugabe's
signature, will give him powers to appoint a successor and boost
ZESN chairperson, Noel
Kututwa, said his organisation had no qualms with the concessions
of the political parties as long as they provided for electoral
Kututwa said: "The
primary objectives of politicians and their parties is to obtain
power which is to be expected, and besides there doesn't seen
to be any other alternative to the crisis at the moment besides
Kututwa explained that
"What is our concern is to see the people getting some free
electoral space and we are hoping that when we meet in Bulawayo
people will remember to address the key needs of the people and
not focus on the political battles that are power-driven."
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