News / Africa

Zimbabwe's Constitutional Outreach Program Ends

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe delivers a speech ( Aug 2010 file photo)
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe delivers a speech ( Aug 2010 file photo)

In Zimbabwe, a significant portion of the multi-party political agreement that brought the power-sharing government to office last February mandated the people spell out what they wanted in a new constitution.  Part of the political agreement was concluded Sunday in Harare.  

Now in a power-sharing government with long-time rival, ZANU-PF, the Movement for Democratic Change says one of its supporters was attacked Saturday during a constitutional outreach meeting in Harare.

MDC says the man, Jonsaya Manyere, was stabbed and is fighting for his life in the hospital.  Police Assistant-Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena says the attack on Manyere took place more than an hour after the meeting had ended and after the public and police had dispersed.  He said the injured man will not give police any information about his attacker. The Harare outreach programs were postponed several weeks ago after a Movement for Democratic Change supporter was killed.  But most of last weekend's meetings, held in several places around Zimbabwe's capital were peaceful.

About 4,000 outreach meetings were held around the country in the past three months.  Public watchdog Veritas says more than 700,000 people have attended.

Some people believe attendance was low and say there were logistical and financial disruptions to the enormous project.  The MDC says ZANU-PF supporters disrupted some of the meetings.

Constatine Chipadza, who attended a meeting on Saturday, says he is worried about the low attendance by MDC supporters at these gatherings.

"On the constitutional process we have got a problem of apathy, not only in Harare, but all over the country.  The Movement for Democratic Change is not taking this thing seriously.  Only ZANU-PF is taking it seriously.  This thing needed to be advertised properly," Chipadza said.

Isaac Gumbo, 61, is enthusiastic about the outreach program.  He says the meeting he attended in a western Harare suburb was small and peaceful.  

"The attendance was average in terms of the place and the atmosphere was very conducive for the meeting.  There was no intimidation," Gumbo said. "All people from different parties were able to express their view.  Probably the attendance was not so huge because if the police are there the atmosphere becomes tense."

Organizers say the vast number of documents generated by public discussions will take several months to analyze.  After that, most political analysts believe a draft constitution will be negotiated between the Movement for Democratic Change and ZANU-PF.

June 30 of next year has been set as a tentative date for a referendum on the draft constitution.

President Robert Mugabe recently said that the inclusive government ends next February when it is two-years old, but observers say the political agreement that is the blueprint for this process does not spell out its life span.

The constitution, which was amended to allow the unity government, says Mr. Mugabe cannot dissolve parliament and call fresh elections without the consent of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid