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Bulawayo public meeting
Zimbabwe Youth Forum (ZYF)
November 28, 2007

Close to 150 youths attended a youth forum public meeting here in Bulawayo which was exploring prospects of a free and fair election in Zimbabwe's joint 2008 election. The public meeting was convened under the topic "Prospects of A Free and Fair Election In 2008: A Youth Perspective" And was addressed by

Madock Chivasa: Board Chairperson of the Youth Forum and National Spokesperson of the NCA.

Innocent Bastani Ncube: National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) Projects Coordinator

Busani Ncube; Advocacy Officer Bulawayo Agenda

Macdonald Lewanika: National Spokesperson of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and Coordinator of the Students Solidarity Trust.

Langelihle Manyani: Vice President of the Students Christian Movement of Zimbabwe

The meeting which was being chaired by the Youth Forum Projects Coordinator Wellington Zindove realized after thorough debate that there were no prospects of a free and fair election in Zimbabwe largely due to a restrictive and oppressive legal and constitutional framework. It was also noted that for a as long as the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) continue to act as an appendage of ZANU (PF) then allowing them to oversee a free and fair election in 2008 only implies guaranteeing ZANU(PF) victory.

The Mbeki mediated talks slightly came to spotlight when it was observed that since their origination there has not been any noticeable change in the repressive nature of ZANU (PF) politics leaving many young people believing that Mbeki is playing is the dirty hands of ZANU (PF) politics which has not moved an inch in showing sincerity to the talks. .

Meanwhile, the strike by the magistrates continues unabated through out the country. The Youth Forum came face to face with the painful effects of the strike when Madock Chivasa the Youth Forum Board Chairperson's trial was deferred to January next year by members of a private security company manning the court complex who were addressing more than a hundred people who had came to the magistrates courts. These people included the accused, witnesses, and the prison guards, members of the ZRP and members of the public.

These security guards who did not want to entertain any questions only said they expected the striking magistrates to be back at work sometime next year. His assertion has since been vindicated by the state media the Sunday Mail of 25 November 2007, which has since quoted the acting Minister of justice, legal and parliamentary affairs Emerson Mnangagwa saying the Public Service Commission (PSC) will consider the plight of the striking magistrates sometime next year. In the same article the Sunday Mail confesses that on average the magistrates earn between the street equivalence of US$8- US$13.3 per month before 45% tax has been deducted. Magistrates are seen as better salaried in Zimbabwe since they earn much better than teachers, the police and most civil servants.

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