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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • War vets / civic society clash over Constitution
    Radio VOP
    January 13, 2010

    Some civic society members and Movement for Democratic Change supporters on Tuesday took the bull by its horns and faced rowdy war vets who had attempted to disrupt a constitutional thematic meeting, telling them that Zimbabwe belonged to everyone including those who did not participate in the liberation war that brought about Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.

    War veterans on Tuesday had attempted to disrupted a constitutional thematic meeting and threatened to beat up civic society members attending the meeting at Rainbow Towers Hotel.

    Major Cairo Mhandu, a war veteran chairing the meeting, started chanting Zanu PF slogans while raising a clinched fist, protesting to the idea that the meeting start with a prayer. This situation did not go well with the other thematic members who fiercely complained leading to the clash.The war vets began chanting slogans and singing revolutionary songs.

    The war veterans argued that they fought for Zimbabwe and had the right to dictate what they wanted at the thematic meeting. "We do not want civilians to contribute to our affairs..." shouted the war veterans. The civic society and MDC supporters advanced to the top table to face the chair Mhandu and other three war veterans and told them that Zimbabwe was not theirs alone.

    "You are crazy, this country belongs to us all and this time we are not going to tolerate you. We are in a new Zimbabwe different from what you used to do in the previous years," said a youthful guy from the MDC.

    The havoc was calmed by ZANU-PF chairman for the Parliamentary constitution select committee, Paul Mangwana who was quickly summoned to intervene.

    "Cdes the liberation of Zimbabwe is not about the political parties, because there were many people who died during the war for this country who were not Zanu PF only," said Mangwana. "Zimbabwe is not for Zanu PF but a country for Zimbabweans. Let us desist from party sloganeering during this process and debate meaningfully for we are crafting a constitution for the generations to come. I don't want to hear any noise and let's stick to business. I am ordering that the meeting should start without either a prayer or anything else," said Mangwana before ordering self styled war veteran Joseph Chinotimba to "shut up" and obey to his directive.

    Chinotimba was not part of the war veterans' thematic committee but had jumped in after hearing that his colleagues were engaged in a dispute.

    The parliament select committee on the Constitution formed 17 thematic committees comprising members from different organizations and back grounds.

    The members who are being trained will be responsible for gathering people's views on the new constitution of Zimbabwe, which will see fresh elections in the country, which has battled with political and economic stability for the past decade.

    Addressing delegates from the civic society who were gathered for the training programme that will go for consultations on the constitution on Monday, Justice Ben Sathlayo said there shall be no political party sloganeering or wearing of political party regalia during the whole constitution making process by out reach members.

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