ZANU PF militias back in action in rural areas

youth_militiaThere are reports suggesting ZANU PF backed militias have been reactivated to play a pivotal role in mobilising people in rural areas to actively participate in the constitution making process. While they might have laid down their weapons, their mere presence has raised tensions and fears that they might be resuming the type of violence that plagued the MD

Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us most militias have been deployed in areas where the MDC made major inroads in last years polls. He said ZANU PF fears if its supporters do not particpate in the reform exercise, the consequences could be dire for the party.

Already there have been skirmishes involving these militias and officials from the MDC in Mutare, Masvingo and some parts of Mashonaland central. The militias are forcing people to attend local or provincial conferences and push for the Kariba draft to be used as a reference point in drawing up a new constitution, Muchemwa said.

Since last month authorities in the country have started the process to draw up a new constitution under the shaky unity government, amidst a widespread political climate of fear and mistrust, and a devastated economy.

Since independence the country has followed the Lancaster House constitution, but since then the ZANU PF led government has added 18 subsequent amendments to the Constitution, strengthening presidential powers and turning Zimbabwe into an authoritarian country.

In 2001 an attempt to introduce a new constitution was voted off in a referendum, after a fierce campaign by civil society to oppose the repressive regime. Yet, even though the opposition successfully led a NO-vote, important issues such as the unlimited term of the President, powers of the executive and land reform remain unresolved.

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