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    Bulawayo Agenda
    July 16, 2010

    Gweru -
    Cases of intimidation for civic society activists and human rights defenders continue to take place in the area. A number of activists were last week barred from holding meetings in . . . . West after the community leaders informed that they need to get permission from the District Administrator. Gweru Agenda, programme officer Ntombiyezansi Tozana explained that it does not matter whether one has a police clearance or not and whether they have been granted permission by the local leadership who include the chief and head man; they still need to come to the venue with the DA. Despite there having been 97 people at a meeting organised by COPAC only one person was allowed to speak and the community members said that this is because of an operation being run by one political party under "Operation Nyararai". She added that the cancellation of meetings was a clear sign of intimidation not only for CSO workers but also for the community members.

    Bulawayo - The constitutional outreach teams have started their work after a week-long break in order to pave way for the opening of the second session of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe. Sources in the various areas said that meetings have been scheduled and most are expected to take place today. It however remained unclear on when the meetings in urban centres will start with COPAC giving conflicting dates for the process. Last week one of the co chairpersons of the committee, Mr Edward Mkhosi said that the meetings may start as late as the end of August as the outreach teams have to first complete the surrounding rural areas. He said that meetings are likely to be held over two days in most urban centres.

    Plumtree - Macingwana community members are anticipating a meeting with the COPAC teams so that they emphasise on the need for investing power in the local authorities to spur development. They said that it has been ten years since they requested that a school be built near them as the nearest school is approximately 17km away. The long distance, which students have to walk everyday, has resulted in low pass rates and a number of dropouts. Community members said that if a school is built at a close to them, problems such as the low literacy rate and children having to walk through bushes everyday could be reduced.

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