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ZANU-PF Reversal on Death Penalty Holds Up Zimbabwe Constitution Draft

Select committee sources said parties had agreed on dual citizenship, the devolution of power from the central government and the abolition of capital punishment, but ZANU-PF now wants to reopen those points

Zimbabwe's often-delayed constitutional revision process hit another obstacle this week as President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF reversed itself on issues including devolution of power, the death penalty and dual citizenship, holding up work on a draft.

Sources in the parliamentary select committee in charge of the revision said it had been agreed to introduce dual citizenship, to devolve power from the central government and to do away with capital punishment, but ZANU-PF now wants to reopen those issues.

ZANU-PF's insistence on keeping the death penalty comes despite indications from the judiciary that capital punishment has not had the intended deterrent effect.

Murder cases brought before the High Court are said to have increased from 386 in 2010 to 395 last year and are expected to rise further this year.

Select committee co-chairman Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana of ZANU-PF could not be reached for immediate comment on the reported about-face.

But his counterpart Douglas Mwonzora of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said that the issue has gone to the management committee, which includes senior negotiators for all governing parties.