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Traditional leaders encouraged to be non-partisan ahead of elections.

 

'Chiefs should desist from being partisan and persecuting people in their area based on their political affiliation'. These sentiments were echoed by Nzvimbo residents in Chiweshe at a community theatre forum  convened by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition on the 20th of March 2012 at Gunguhwe Business   Centre. Participants at the meeting reported that chiefs were the major perpetrators of violence in 2008 and continue to be a threat to sustainable peace.

It was also reported that Chief Makope presides over his court wearing a ZANUPF t-shirt and has since notified MDC councillors not to attend the court. The Coalition, in collaboration with Savannah Trust drama group, staged a play entitled Simudza Mureza 'Raise the Flag' which touches on issues of transitional justice, reform of state institutions and at the same time encourages people to participate in national processes such as elections peacefully. The meeting was attended by more than 60 people, including headmen Zinyoni, Chikuvanyama and Makope.

'Vana mambo nemamwe masabhuku ndiyo honzeri yemhirizhonga muno muchiweshe (Chiefs and other headman are the catalyst of violence in Chiweshe),' said councillor Nyaunga of Ward 6. Participants expressed concern over the continued call for elections in the absence of key democratic reforms, which ensure security of persons, prosecution of perpetrators of violence and freedom of expression and assemble.

These issues also emerged during the discussions at the meeting:

  • The draft constitution of Zimbabwe should include devolution as a system of government.
  • Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) among other repressive laws should be repealed before elections.
  • The state should grant new independent players radio and television licences and ensure equal access to media for contesting candidates during elections
  • NO democratic constitution NO elections
  • All state institutions including the police should be non-partisan and conduct their constitutional duties in a professional manner.
  • A maximum of two terms of limit (five years for each term) should be put in place in the constitution for the executive including age limits of between 40-70 years.

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