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Zimbabwe Cabinet To Meet for First Time in 2012 At Odds Over Constitution


Hardliners in President Mugabe's ZANU-PF say their party should pull out of the revision process and tell the Southern African Development Community and the African Union that the process has failed

The Zimbabwean Cabinet will meet on Wednesday for the first time this year amid deepening divisions in the national unity government worsened by talk of elections and disagreements over the ongoing revision of the constitution.

The management committee overseeing the constitutional revision process met Monday to deliberate the so-called outstanding issues, but failed to reach a consensus.

The two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change in government want a negotiated settlement to resolve remaining contentious issues.

But hardliners in President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF say their party should pull out of the revision process and make the case to the Southern African Development Community and the African Union - guarantors of power sharing - that the process has failed.

They charge that the select parliamentary committee running the process has failed to take account of public views and that Zimbabwe should hold elections this year, with the government which emerges from that taking in charge to rewrite the constitution.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, secretary general of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that he is confident they will resolve the outstanding issues. However, he ruled out elections this year.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo insisted elections must be held this year, failing which Mr. Mugabe might wish to revert to the so-called Lancaster House constitution put in place at independence if the MDC wants parties to negotiate outstanding issues.

Political analyst Earnest Mudzengi commented that it is difficult to trust politicians with the task of rewriting a constitution.

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