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Nyazura residents demand democratic reforms and a new constitution before elections

Mutungagore residents in Ward 29, Nyazura (Manicaland Province) called for the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe to expedite the constitution making process and put in place democratic reforms before the holding of elections in Zimbabwe. Speaking at a community meeting organised   by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition on the 18th of November 2012 at Mutungagore Business Centre participants urged the Inclusive   Government to ensure a violent free election in 2013.

The meeting was aimed at updating people on the progress of the constitution making process and also popularising Civil Society's roadmap to elections. The meeting was attended by 83 people (31 women and 52 men).

Participants expressed that as the talk of elections heightens, they fear the reincarnation of violence in communities. "The talk of elections revokes painful memories and brings unrest in communities. We call upon the government to ensure security of persons by making sure that perpetrators of violence will be arrested without any favour, € said Mr Cleopas Zvaita of Nyazura Residents Association.

Questioned on the possibility of holding elections in March 2013 as indicated by President Robert Mugabe at the Second All Stakeholders, Member of Parliament for Makoni North Honourable Pishai Muchauraya assured participants that the push for early polls will be not be tolerated by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"Our position as a party is that the COPAC draft should be put to a referendum and let Zimbabweans decide. Democratic should also be put in place, the media, the army, the police, traditional leaders and other key state institutions like the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should be able to conduct their duties professionally, € added Honourable Muchauraya. He also told the participants that the MDC is pushing for a clearly defined roadmap with signposts to guarantee a free and fair election.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Advocacy and Networking Officer Ms Memory Kadau presented the Civil Society's road map to elections emphasising on the need for the fulfilment of the Global Political Agreement by the Inclusive government and having the political will to put an end to political violence.

"As civil society we are making efforts through engaging SADC and AU to push for the full implementation of the GPA by the two formations of the MDC and ZANU PF. Our message is that elections should be held under a conducive environment where people can exercise their rights without fear or hindrance, € said Ms Kadau.

Honourable Muchauraya also took the opportunity to update the people on the progress of the constitution making process and urged them to read and understand the draft constitution before the referendum which is expected to be held early next year.

"You should all take time to read and understand the draft constitution. You should be able to justify and defend what you are voting for at the referendum, € said Honourable Muchauraya.

Participants also expressed their satisfaction in the COPAC draft and indicated that it was better than the Lancaster constitution and urged the government to expedite the process.

"The Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Reform and the Inclusive Government should conclude the constitution making process without any further delays and let Zimbabweans decide through a referendum, € concluded one participant.

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