Zimbabwe’s top political leaders say they have agreed on the details of a new constitution for the Southern African nation.
In a step that could pave the way for presidential and legislative elections, Zimbabwe’s top political leaders say they have agreed on the details of a new constitution for the Southern African nation. The announcement, following talks by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube could end a political impasse that has lasted for years and encourage Zimbabwe’s recovery from a decade-long recession.
The United States welcomes the agreement and hopes that it will soon be put to a nationwide referendum. We stand with the people of Zimbabwe and our international partners in supporting a peaceful, credible vote.
The two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change party, one led by the prime minister and the other by Mr. Ncube, and Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party have shared power since 2009 in a transitional government created at the urging of the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, a 15-member nation regional bloc. A 2008 presidential election ended in dispute amid voting irregularities and violence by elements of the state security forces and factions within ZANU-PF.
Under the SADC-sponsored political pact, a new constitution must be drafted and presented to voters before new elections can be held. Negotiations over the constitution have dragged on for more than a year due to disagreements over the powers of the president, devolution of power to the provinces and reform of the security forces.
Although some details of the agreement reached by Zimbabwe’s leaders on the draft constitution remain to be clarified in the final text, many of the outstanding issues hampering previous negotiations appear to have been resolved in this month’s talks. A date for the referendum is expected to be announced after the constitution is presented to parliament.
Zimbabwe’s best hope for peaceful elections this year is to continue to fulfill the reform commitments that the parties themselves have made in the Global Political Agreement and the SADC Election Roadmap.