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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Chaos and violence mar COPAC meetings as residents deprived of right to participate on racial grounds
    Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) Independent Constitution Monitoring Project (ZZZICOMP)
    September 20, 2010

    Chaos reigned supreme at most meetings held in Harare and Chitungwiza at the weekend to solicit people's contributions to the crafting of a new governance charter.

    Violence broke out at some of the meetings resulting in several meetings being aborted, while some residents' right to freedom of expression was curtailed on racial grounds.

    At Greystone Park Primary School, war veterans and ZANU PF youths barred some white residents from participating at an outreach meeting. A resident who defended the participation of white people at the meeting was assaulted by three war veterans and some ZANU PF youths.

    An accredited ZZZICOMP observer, who was monitoring proceedings at the school was barred from leaving the premises after some war veterans closed all the school gates at the school and prevented people from leaving the premises. Other ZZZICOMP observers, who visited the school in an attempt to rescue their colleague were detained for about 30 minutes at the school before being released.

    At Lewisam Primary School some war veterans unsuccessfully attempted to bar another accredited ZZZICOMP monitor from attending a meeting held at the school on Sunday 19 September 2010.

    The war veterans told the monitor that he should not monitor the constitution making process since it was not an election and thus did not warrant the presence of monitors.

    Two white men who also wanted to make some contributions during the meeting were barred from doing so as they were regarded as not Zimbabweans.

    At Glenview 1 New Hall Mwenezi East Member of Parliament Hon. Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, who was one of the COPAC team members facilitating the meeting caused a stir when it was discovered that he had brought with him some villagers to participate at the meeting.

    Pandemonium broke out at the meeting as Bhasikiti's sympathizers threatened to assault a COPAC team member only identified as Chipadze for querying the participation of villagers at the meeting.

    COPAC co-chairperson Hon. Paul Mangwana unsuccessfully pleaded with the participants to restrain themselves at the meeting. But Mangwana's intervention fell on deaf ears as some participants started drum beating and singing at the meeting forcing some residents to walk out of the meeting. Despite the walk out, Hon Bhasikiti proceeded with facilitating the meeting with the villagers in attendance and making some contributions.

    Incidents of ferrying of people to attend meetings in residential areas where they do not reside were recorded at most meetings.

    A Mazda T-35 truck was used to ferry people from Hopley Farm to attend meetings at Greystone Primary School. Most of the people who were ferried from Hopley Farm were conspicuous as they all had a loaf of bread, a fizzy drink and a packet of maputi in hand.

    At Glen Norah Number 2 Hall four commuter omnibuses were used to transport people to participate at the meeting. A councillor for the area identified as Gombe and another resident identified as Munyanyi were briefly arrested by the police and later freed.

    In Dzivarasekwa, a man identified as Chigumba ferried people from Mufakose and Kambuzuma to participate at a meeting held at Dzivarasekwa 2 Community Hall. In Chitungwiza, a ZANU-PF supporter reportedly withdrew a gun at the meeting in order to stop a resident from delivering an opening prayer before the commencement of the meeting, which was later abandoned on Saturday 18 September 2010. COPAC members affiliated to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) walked out of the meeting in protest against the ferrying of people and an insulting opening prayer.

    For further information and comments please contact ZZZICOMP

    Email: Hotlines: (0)916-404256-9 / (0)916-404292

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