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parties bitterly divided after amendment vote
Blessing Zulu, VOA
August 31, 2005
passed by Zimbabwe’s ruling party amending the constitution to expand
state powers and curtail civil liberties continued to elicit sharp
criticism Wednesday from the political opposition, human rights
organizations and civil society.
the amendment legislation awaiting President Robert Mugabe’s signature
represents a tightening of control by the president and his ruling
ZANU-PF party, and a further step towards authoritarianism amidst
a deepening national crisis.
nationalize all farmland leaving its former owners no legal recourse,
disenfranchise voters of foreign descent and allow the government
to confiscate the passports of those it believes will speak against
the national interest abroad.
amendment will reestablish the Zimbabwean senate.
Rights Association Director Munyaradzi Bidi told Reuters that the
bill "completes the cycle of repression."
focus of outrage is an amendment allowing the government to seize
the passports of individuals if it considers they are likely to
make statements abroad that are damaging to the country's national
interest. Members of the opposition say the government will use
this to prevent them from seeking international support for democratic
reforms and making known complaints of human rights abuses.
deprives landowners of the right to seek relief in the courts if
their property is taken under the land reform program launched in
the late 1990s.
Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Deputy Information
Minister Bright Matonga who said the amendments are necessary and
of the Movement for Democratic Change described the amendment bill
as "an act of madness and an exercise in futility."
Yet some opposition
parliamentarians were absent Tuesday when the bill passed by a vote
of 103 to 29.
Zulu spoke with the MDC member of parliament for Harare East, Tendai
Biti, who is the party’s secretary for economic affairs, about why
the opposition did not turn out in force for the vote, and other
aspects of the amendment battle
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