Entries in Robert Mugabe (4)


Zimbabwe Votes on New Constitution

Hemera/Thinkstock(HARARE, Zimbabwe) -- Voters in Zimbabwe turned out to vote Saturday for a new constitution that is being backed by both political parties.

The new constitution includes measures to protect free expression and reduces the powers of the president, among other reforms considered to be pro-democracy.

Zimbabwe has been entrenched in crisis since the 2008 election, which saw former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai win the most votes, but refuse to participate in a runoff due to violence and accusations of vote-rigging on the part of the longtime ruler President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe, 89, has been in power for over 25 years, and according to USA Today, the four most recent elections have been marred by violence. While the proposed constitution would limit his powers to some extent, critics say it doesn't quite do enough.

Additionally, critics say that because the voting date was not announced until about one month ago, the citizens have not had sufficient time to read and understand the 170-page document, according to the New York Times.

The main faction of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, is urging its supporters to vote "yes" Saturday, calling the proposed constitution the best compromise that could be achieved at this point.

According to the Times, the results of the vote are expected by Friday. Citizens hope that if passed, the new constitution will be a step towards peace and and towards putting Zimbabwe, once among the most stable nations in Africa, back on a path to prosperity

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mediators Say Zimbabwe Need Reforms Before Elections

Hemera/Thinkstock(HARARE, Zimbabwe) -- Zimbabwe plans to hold elections this year whether the country has a new constitution or not, says a ruling party spokesperson.

The southern African nation is expected to hold the elections in 2012. The ruling party Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) signed a unity agreement in 2008 which is expected to end once new elections are called.

Election mediators including South African officials say democratic reforms including a new constitution are needed before elections can occur.

President Robert Mugabe, 88, has been in power since the country gained independence from British rule in 1980.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


EU Extends Zimbabwe Sanctions, Removes Some Names from List

Hemera/Thinkstock(BRUSSELS, Belgium) -- The European Union removed some names off a sanctions list for Zimbabwe, though they extended an arms embargo and freezing aid for a further six months.

The EU Council met in Brussels on Friday where they approved removing 51 names from the list though President Robert Mugabe and key members of his government remain on the list. Since the September 2008 power sharing agreement between the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU-PF) and opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the EU lifted some sanctions on the southern African nation.

A travel ban was removed for Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi in order for them to travel to Brussels for negotiations with the council.

Zimbabwe is expected to hold presidential elections in 2012.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Suspicions Arise in Fiery Death of Zimbabwe Kingmaker

George Doyle/Thinkstock(HARARE, Zimbabwe) -- Zimbabwe’s political landscape fell further into turmoil after the death of influential retired army general Solomon Mujuru earlier in the week.

Retired General Mujuru died in a fire at his farm on the outskirts of the capital city of Harare on Tuesday. Mujuru was the husband of Vice-President Joice Mujuru, and a part of the country's main party's leadership committee, the Politburo.

Mujuru and his wife were a part of a faction within the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party that was jostling to succeed the 87-year-old President Robert Mugabe. The other faction is led by Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Officials say the 67-year-old Mujuru was "burned beyond recognition" on the commercial farm in Beatrice which he seized from white farmer Guy Watson-Smith in 2001 during Zimbabwe's infamous land grabs. Mujuru was wealthy and is said to have owned several commercial farms as well as many business ventures.

Reports say the married general's body was discovered near a door, showing that he apparently tried to escape the inferno but was overcome and died together with his girlfriend. He was separated from his wife who was at their home in Chisipite at the time of the fire. Suspicions have been raised about Mujuru's death in a country poised for contentious elections in the coming months. On Wednesday Vice-President Mujuru called for calm after ZANU-PF youths marched in the city streets demanding answers about her husband's death.

Mujuru's nom de guerre was Rex Nhongo when he fought in Zimbabwe's liberation struggle in the 1970's. He lead guerilla forces and was dubbed "the Kingmaker" after convincing his troops to accept  Mugabe as their leader when the future president crossed over into Mozambique after 10 years behind bars in then Rhodesia. Mujuru served as General of the Army after independence in 1980 until retiring in 1995. Mujuru, however, was said to have recently lost favor with the President.

Tensions have escalated between the two factions within ZANU-PF, which signed a power sharing deal with opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in 2008. Mujuru's faction was considered more moderate and likely to work with MDC.

Forensic experts are investigating the fire which initial reports say was caused by a faulty electrical system. A funeral parade was held on Thursday at army barracks near the capital for the general who was declared a national hero and will be buried at the National Heroes' Acre in Harare on Saturday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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