December 23, 2003

ZANU and MDC examine agenda for talks

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary-general Welshman Ncube are scheduled to meet in Bulawayo to discuss an agenda for inter-party talks. MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi mentioned that the development was "logical" coming after South African President Mbeki extracted a commitment from Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe to "move from informal to formal talks". According to Nathan Shamuyarira, secretary for publicity and information of the ruling ZANU-PF, Chinamasa was "in the committee on the talks that meets regularly with MDC".

The MDC has called for talks to agree on constitutional reforms before fresh elections can be held. "Going into an election with skewed laws will produce the same outcome. The MDC believes that you can not have a comprehensive people driven constitution in this environment but you do need a constitutional environment that is conducive for free and fair elections," MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said. Before, he had threatened "mass action" in 2004 as only "national and international pressure" would persuade ZANU-PF towards negotiations. (IRIN/Rts/Business Times, Johannesburg)


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