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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Statement on intimidation in Epworth
    Union for Sustainable Democracy
    May 26, 2010

    Today, the Union for Sustainable Democracy sent a high-level undercover delegation into Epworth, a shanty town on the outskirts of Harare. We were dismayed by repeated accounts of how Zanu PF thugs are threatening to mete out violence on anyone who defies their formula for the constitution-making process.

    Epworth residents Tapiwa Machipisa, Rumbidzai Kaseke, Philip Nyajeka, Simon Zhakata and Priscilla Chakabva all spoke emotionally about how people in Epworth have been ordered by Zanu PF thugs to report for political meetings against their will.

    The message, they told us, has been a very simple one: 'Shut up and leave the task of responding to questions to those who have been selected to do so.'

    In the unlikely event of ordinary residents having to respond to questions, they told us, they are to answer in a particular fashion. In particular they have been instructed to emphatically state that the new constitution must not put any limit on a president's term of office. Clearly, the intention is to confirm Mugabe as president for life.

    There will be more 'educative meetings' chaired by loyal Zanu PF supporters to ensure that people understand how the constitution-making process is to be handled. Landlords have been instructed to keep watch on their tenants and to either summarily evict anyone perceived to be sympathetic to the MDC or refer their names to 'chairpersons' for handling.

    Meanwhile, residents have been given a month to acquire Zanu PF membership cards which, like Identity Documents, they have been ordered to carry at all times.

    They have been warned that election violence this time around will be much worse than in 2008.

    The Union for Sustainable Democracy views this fresh wave of intimidation with alarm and condemns it in the strongest possible terms. It is outrageous that thousands of innocent people can be forced to live in fear simply in order to guarantee the realisation of the unconstitutional and evil ambitions of a handful of people.

    We urge the unity government to swiftly and decisively denounce this act of repression.

    For more information about the Union For Sustainable democracy visit

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