- The two unity government leaders of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai have today both condemned yesterday’s disruptions at the national conference aimed at ironing out constitutional impediments on the country’s future democracy.
Reports from Harare quoted both leaders saying the acts by the youth were a cause of concern and a delay to the country’s future democratic aspirations. Though the opposition blamed the ruling party youth, Mr Mugabe did not outrightly conceded to the accusations, but voiced his distaste on the happenings.
President Mugabe’s loyalists, mainly youth, reportedly stormed the conference venue, disrupting proceedings and booing speakers on Monday, after clashing with rival delegates, local reports said.
The conference which was aimed to discuss a new constitution under a unity government formed by President Robert Mugabe and old rival Morgan Tsvangirai collapsed during an opening statement by the speaker of parliament.
Reports said President Mugabe loyalists booed the Parliament Speaker Lovemore Moyo, member of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change after starting the parliament session after President Mugabe failed to pitch for the meeting on time.
According to reports, some delegates walked out in protest, others threw water bottles, prompting riot police to clear out the Harare venue.
The unity government formed by Mr Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai in February, had among other reforms to push, a new constitution, and a number of reforms to lessen presidential powers.
President Mugabe has long resisted constitutional reforms, which might loosen his grip on the country he has ruled for nearly three decades. He wants the constitution based on what is called the Kariba Draft, which was drawn up by the parties last year.
The Kariba document gives the president too much executive power, according to local reports.
Reports said more than 4,000 delegates had turned up at the constitutional talks, which included party delegates, veterans of Zimbabwe and delegates from the civil society. The conference is expected to continue today after yesterday’s disruptions.
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