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Zimbabwe parties strike devolution deal
26/06/2012 00:00:00
by Patience Nyangove
 
Tough talks ... Chinamasa, Biti and Misihairabwi
 
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ZANU PF and the two MDC parties have finally reached an agreement which will see devolution of power form part of the new constitution for Zimbabwe, New Zimbabwe.com can reveal today.

Negotiating teams led by Zanu PF’s Patrick Chinamasa and the secretary generals of the two MDC factions Tendai Biti and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga have been locked in talks for over a week, trying to save the draft constitution which has been in the works since 2009.

Under the deal agreed by the parties, the country’s 10 provinces will each have a provincial assembly made up of Members of Parliament and Senators from that area, representatives of local authorities and 10 individuals elected by proportional representation as well as a provincial governor.

The provincial assembly will nominate two possible candidates for governor which they will forward to the President who will choose from the two, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

Under the current constitution, the President appoints governors who are invariably members of his party.

Zanu PF had vowed not to support any constitution with devolution of power, with officials claiming it would encourage secession advocates in Matabeleland to push for a withdrawal from Zimbabwe.

But the MDC parties – who have placed devolution at the heart of their policies – said Zanu PF was rejecting people’s views after the issue registered high during an outreach programme led by a parliamentary committee to collect the people’s views.

Sources said the parties were also trying to reach agreement on the abolition of the death penalty – which the MDC parties support, but Zanu PF rejects.

“There has been a lot of movement on all the issues, the areas of disagreement have been narrowed considerably,” said the source.

Zanu PF negotiators have also been pushing for the inclusion in the draft constitution of a clause that every Presidential candidate must contest with a running mate, as is the case in the United States and Malawi.

Zanu PF officials hope this would deal with the troublesome succession issue within their party. Whoever is named as Mugabe’s running mate would immediately assume the status of his preferred heir as future leader of the party.



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