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Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF Mulls Pulling Out of Unity Gov't to Force Elections

ZANU-PF insiders say party hardliners want President Mugabe to impress upon Southern African Development Community leaders that the unity government is totally dysfunctional and should be dissolved

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe will lobby his fellow Southern African leaders on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa later this month to acquiesce in an election in Zimbabwe this year without reforms many say are indispensable.

Sources in Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party say hardliners want Mr. Mugabe to tell peers in the Southern African Development Community that the Harare unity government should be disbanded because it has become totally dysfunctional.

The hardliners are calling on the parliamentary committee responsible for overhauling the constitution to abandon the revision process and let the country to hold elections.

They say the views Zimbabweans expressed in a 2010 outreach phase have not been incorporated in early drafts, and that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change is delaying the process to fend off early elections.

ZANU-PF members of the constitution drafting technical team, Godwills Masimirembwa and Jacob Mudenda, say drafters have not delivered a proper document.

ZANU-PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo says the constitution-making process has become a "dead and already stinking donkey," charging that the two MDC formations in government are using it to subvert popular views gathered in public hearings.

Moyo contended that it is unthinkable anyone in SADC would make putting the new constitution in place a precondition for holding new elections in Zimbabwe - though that is one of the basic premises of the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing, which is the basis for the unity government launched in February 2009.

Attorney Jeremiah Bamu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said ZANU-PF knows broad reforms would undermine its already weak electoral position.