Zimbabwean Political Parties Urged To Shun Violence

Harare, – The constitutional making consultation phase starting early next year is threatened by violence if the country's main political parties do not talk to their supporters to desist from violence, a co-chair of the constitutional making committee said Monday.

Addressing journalists at a media workshop at a local hotel, co-chair of the parliamentary select committee on constitution making process,Douglas Mwonzora, said political parties needed to control their supporters so that there would not be violence during the consultation process.

"There is always the threat of political violence if the political parties do not rein in on their supporters.It is very easy for political parties to spoil the event," Mwonzora said.  "We will talk to information secretaries of all the political parties to urge their supporters to desist from violence."

Zimbabweans through the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which formed the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will embark on the constitution making process in January after months of delay.

The first all stakeholders conference was once disturbed by Mugabe’s Zanu PF supporters in July, the three leaders in the GPA condemned the disturbances.

Mwonzora said the process for it to be violent free needs the blessing of the three political leaders including Arthur Mutambara of the smaller MDC faction.

"We have said that the principals should grace the official launch of outreach programme this January.They should speak about their commitment, reiterating the importance of the constitution for the benefit of their followers,"Mwonzora said.

Mwonzora said hardliners in both the main parties may find it hard to accept the writing of a new constitution but said there must be political will to make sure people write the constitution freely.

"We must always remember that there will be elements within political parties to which this message will be difficult to sink," Mwonzora said adding that they want the constitution making process to be done with Zimbabweans having "full freedom" on what they want.

A draft constitution was rejected in 2000 after ordinary people voted no in the referendum accusing the constitutional making team then of doctoring the final document.

Zimbabwe is expected to hold elections soon after the new constitution is made law anytime after the referendum expected before October 2010. RadioVOP