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Zimbabwe President Mugabe's ZANU-PF Divided Over Election Timing


Sources in the party said ZANU-PF hardliners want elections to be called this year but there is no consensus in the party on the question and there is opposition to near-term elections by Southern African regional leaders

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is expected to chair a tense meeting of his former ruling ZANU-PF party's politburo Wednesday to discuss the timing of the next elections and controversial proposals for security sector reform as a prelude to elections.

Party sources said ZANU-PF wants to hammer out a unified position before a special summit of the Southern African Development Community on May 20.

Sources in the party said ZANU-PF hardliners want elections to be called this year but there is no consensus in the party on the question and there is opposition to near-term elections by Southern African regional leaders and the international community.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo again attacked Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, the party's chief negotiator in talks among parties in the power-sharing government, and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, saying Mr. Mugabe alone can call elections.

Former information minister Jonathan Moyo has criticized calls for security sector reform as “extra judicial negotiations,” calling negotiators puppets of Western masters.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo confirmed the Wednesday politburo meeting in an interview with VOA reporter Blessing Zulu, but would not be drawn on the agenda.

Political scientist John Makumbe said ZANU-PF finds itself in disarray.

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