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ACTSA News December 2010: Focus on Swaziland and Zimbabwe
for Southern Africa (ACTSA)
December 18, 2010
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Concerns are growing about progress towards possible
elections in Zimbabwe in 2011, after violence in Harare forced officials
to suspend public consultations on a new constitution. Prominent
civil society groups have condemned the attacks by Zanu-PF supporters
and appealed to the Government to ensure the consultation process
proceeds peacefully. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has stated
that he will not participate in an election if it is marred by conflict.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has also cast doubts on
the country's readiness to hold a ballot, conceding that it
is not adequately funded and needs time to update the electoral
roll. The constitutional reform process is already a year behind
schedule, but President Mugabe has indicated that elections will
be held in 2011 whether or not the reforms are completed.
The UN has created a new body to coordinate efforts
to meet the needs of women across the world. The UN Entity for Gender
Equality and the Empowerment of Women (to be known as UN Women)
brings together a fragmented and under-funded group of UN bodies,
including UNIFEM, in order to better address issues including women's
political and economic empowerment, violence against women, and
Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has been
appointed to the new Under-Secretary-General position.
Africa to sign EPA with the EU
South Africa is likely to sign an Economic Partnership
Agreement (EPA) with the European Union, after months of being on
hold. Signing of the EPA by South Africa was delayed due to disagreements
with neighbouring African countries as well as differences with
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa's minister
for international relations and co-operation, said "we can
indeed conclude this EPA by the end of this year as long as they
[the EU] do not bring new issues [to] the table." She also
criticised the EU for negotiating with countries individually, despite
the Southern African Customs Union being recognised as a bloc.
The EU had
originally expected southern African countries to sign up to the
controversial trade deals by the end of 2007, but due to a number
of contentious clauses negotiations have been prolonged.
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