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vets / civic society clash over Constitution
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
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
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.
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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