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limit for future Zim presidents
Ray Ndlovu, Mail and Guardian (SA)
January 25, 2013
View this article
on The Mail and Guardian (SA) website
edged closer to staging elections this year after major parties
struck a deal on the outstanding issues
stalling the draft constitution.
The shock announcement
of the agreement has, however, sparked intense public speculation
and suspicion of the events that led to the deal.
Before the announcement,
Welshman Ncube of the smaller MDC grouping was excluded from a meeting
between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, and an infuriated MDC-T
delegation walked out of a meeting with the Cabinet committee, claiming
that Zanu-PF was trying to flex its muscles.
said the haggling showed that differences were far from being smoothed
out. Different accounts also persist on the terms of the new agreement,
with Zanu-PF and the two MDC factions all claiming victory.
Mugabe was forced to agree to compromises after discussions degenerated
into talk over the upcoming election. "It was highlighted to
him that the country would miss its election timeline if the disagreements
continued and this would extend the lifespan of the unity
government," said an official.
that, Mugabe insisted that a solution must be found and a deal must
be reached without fail."
drafting committee must now incorporate the agreements into a consolidated
Among the issues
agreed on are:
will be able to pick candidates to stand with them in elections
as their deputies. Zanu-PF had initially resisted the proposal,
fearing it would provoke infighting and divisions in the party.
However, the agreement on running mates will only be adopted after
law expert Lovemore Madhuku criticised the clause for being "stupid"
and said Zimbabweans must reject the proposed draft in the referendum.
A two-term limit
for the president has been agreed to. The clause is seen as the
MDC's attempt to stop Mugabe securing a lifelong presidency. The
president, however, retains power, exercising his executive powers
through the Cabinet and appointing the heads of state institutions.
The president can also dissolve Parliament.
Alexander Rusero said the compromises provide a safe landing for
Mugabe and his allies. "The compromises were meant to create
a zone of comfort for Mugabe. It is a clear statement that Zanu-PF
officials are negotiating terms to ensure their safety," Rusero
power has been "deferred" and will only be up for discussion
after 10 years. In a seeming appeasement of those opposing devolution
- which was favoured by most provinces in the consultative phase
of the constitution - the principals agreed that the 10 provincial
governors will be replaced by provincial chairs. The chairperson
will come from the party with the most seats in a particular province.
A new national
prosecuting authority will be introduced. The attorney general will
now concentrate on advising the Cabinet. Trevor Maisiri, an analyst
from the International Crisis Group, said: "I think it creates
a reasonable framework for the country's desires for democracy.
The only challenge I foresee is the retention of executive presidential
powers with very limited accountability to the other arms of the
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