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Confusion, Distrust Over Zimbabwe Presidential Term Limit Proposal

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party is under fire for trying to amend the constitution as a way to manage a divisive internal struggle over the presidential succession.

ZANU-PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira was quoted in the government controlled Herald newspaper Thursday as saying the party supports a presidential term limit and simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections. Insiders said an amendment is likely to be floated at the ZANU-PF national conference set for early December.

But other members are pushing for an amendment to let President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, stay in office until 2010 though his term expires in 2008.

Shamuyarira told reporter Blessing Zulu he was merely expressing his personal views as to how the constitution should be amended concerning the presidential term.

National Constitutional Assembly chairman and government critic Lovemore Madhuku, an expert on constitutional law, charged that the ruling party is moving towards extending Mr. Mugabe's term through another constitutional amendment.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...