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President Mugabe Backs Down On Constitutional Amendment Demands

In a major climbdown, President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party Politiburo says Zimbabwe’s draft constitution compiled by a parliamentary committee should be taken to an all-stakeholders conference together with a national report detailing views of the people gathered in the outreach phase of the constitution-making process.

The Politburo resolved Wednesday that Zimbabweans should be in a position to compare the two documents in order to draft a new constitution that will reflect the views of the public.

The Politiburo’s demands for the national report to be taken to the conference is being rejected by the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which insist that such a move breaches some provisions of the Global Political Agreement which formed the basis of the unity government.

The two MDC formations have already referred the deadlock to the Southern African Development Ccommunity (SADC) for intervention. But Zanu PF has been reluctant to refer the matter to the regional body.

President Mugabe is under increasing pressure from fellow SADC leaders who want a constitutional referendum to be held in October and an election mid next year.

SADC troika chair President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania has asked South African president Jacob Zuma, SADC facilitator in Harare, to compile a report on the state of the constitutional report.

Salomao told VOA that regional body wants Mr. Zuma to compile a report and update them to map the way foward.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA that principals have to meet first though it will not delay the holding of the all-stakeholders conference.

Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman for the MDC formation led by Mr. Tsvangirai said the Zanu PF shift in position is significant.