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SADC mediated talks between ZANU (PF) and MDC - Index of articles
constitutional deal reported in Zimbabwe crisis talks
Blessing Zulu, Voice of America (VOA)
September 10, 2007
South African President
Thabo Mbeki’s influence in Zimbabwean politics faces a test
this week as the politiburo and central committee of the country's
ruling party meet to discuss proposals emerging from the crisis
resolution talks he is mediating.
Sources in the ZANU-PF ruling party and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change said a consensus has been reached by the two
parties to the talks as to the shape of a constitutional
amendment awaiting action by the parliament. The amendment would
make sweeping changes in the electoral dispensation.
It remains to be seen
if ZANU-PF hard-liners will accept the compromise deal. Sources
said negotiators agreed the lower house would expand from 150 to
210 seats, none of which would be presidentially appointed. On the
senate side the president will name 35 out of 93 senators - the
upper chamber currently has 66 seats.
The negotiators who met
in Pretoria recently also agreed to hold local elections as well
as presidential, general and senate elections at the same time in
March of next year – as matter stand, the local elections
were to be held in January.
The Pretoria compromise
tightens the rules for redistricting from what the ruling party
had proposed in its draft amendment, allowing only a 20% variance
in the population of redrawn districts, as opposed to the 25% variance
ZANU-PF had proposed.
Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, lead negotiator for ZANU-PF, was expected to table the
amendment legislation in parliament on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Some found encouragement
in the compromises in Pretoria – but Senior Researcher Chris
Maroleng of the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria told
reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that piecemeal
changes to the constitution cannot ensure that next year’s
Zimbabwe elections will be free and fair.
political analyst Glen Mpani agreed, saying Harare needs to scrap
draconian laws including in particular Public
Order and Security Act and the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which respectively
have been used by Harare to stifle political dissent and press freedom.
In other parliamentary
business, sources said the government will amend its so-called indigenization
legislation to provide that companies obliged to cede a 51%
controlling stake in their enterprise will also be obliged to fund
such indigenous investments.
The government would
impose a levy on publicly traded or privately held firms to fund
what it describes as an economic empowerment fund. Harare had proposed
to fund the takeovers itself, but finance ministry sources say this
would be too expensive.
They noted that projected
public revenues will only fund about Z$37 trillion of the Z$255
trillion supplementary budget presented to parliament last week.
Harare economist John
Robertson called the latest proposal "a wicked act."
Dennis Mandudzo, a U.S.-based
doctoral candidate in finance, said the proposed modification to
the indigenization legislation will further spur investor flight.
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