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Daily Archives: September 10, 2008

Mbeki presents power-sharing proposal to Zimbabwe talks

Zimbabwe's political rivals, due to start a second day of last-ditch meetings, were given a document by South Africa's Thabo Mbeki aimed to unlock a power-sharing stalemate, a state daily reported yesterday.
The "extensive and technical" document, which looked at executive powers and the structure of an inclusive government, was given to negotiators for review, The Herald newspaper reported.
"President Mbeki has submitted a document that looks at the executive powers and their distribution while it also looks at the structure of an all-inclusive government if the parties agree to it," the newspaper said, citing an unnamed source.
“The negotiators would study, debate and try to find common ground before resumption of the talks."
The document would also lay the basis of further negotiations between the ZANU-PF of President Robert Mugabe and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions, the newspaper said.
Mbeki, who was appointed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to mediate in talks aimed to resolve Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis, arrived in Harare on Monday to try to resume negotiations.
The talks hit a deadlock last month after Mugabe and main opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai differed on the sharing of executive powers.
Mugabe last week gave Tsvangirai an ultimatum to sign a deal, saying that he would form a new cabinet.
Tsvangirai on the other hand said he would only agree to a deal that gives him "sufficient powers."
Zimbabwe's political rivals failed to secure agreement in power-sharing talks on Monday, but Mugabe and the opposition hinted that the deadlock could be broken soon.
Asked by reporters if he had reached a deal with Tsvangirai, Mugabe said: "Not yet."
"(But) we are moving forward, we are not going back. It was a good meeting," he added.
Tsvangirai, who left the meeting venue shortly after Mugabe's departure, did not speak to journalists.
His party's spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, told reporters that "negotiations are still in progress" and expressed they were to be finalised yesterday.

Trial opens over sacking of Senegal newspaper offices

Twelve men accused of having ransacked the offices of two Senegalese newspapers went on trial Monday, in a case that has highlighted growing tensions between the government and sections of the media.
Prosecutors called for five-year jail sentences for the defendants, local media reported.
The court adjourned the case, which centres around the ransacking last month of the offices of two private newspapers L'As and 24 heures Chrono, until tomorrow — the official APS news agency reported.
The 12 defendants face charges ranging from robbery and assault to damage to property and criminal association.
The offices of the two newspapers were raided on the night of August 17 to 18 by a dozen men who used tear gas to chase staff away and destroyed computers, said media reports at the time.
The Committee for the Defence of Journalists, a media watchdog set up by unions and owners of private publications, said at the time that the attackers had arrived in a government vehicle, recognisable by its licence plates.
The incident followed growing tensions between private press owners and the authorities, sparked by the police beating of two journalists at a football match on June 21.
Several newspapers even accused transport minister Farba Senghor, known for his outbursts against the media, of being behind the attack.
Senghor, a close confidant of President Aboulaye Wade, denied the allegations, accusing the media of conducting a campaign against him.
On August 28, a government statement said that Senghor had been relieved of his ministerial fucntions so that there could be no suggestion of impropriety in the conduct of the trial.
Although he was questioned by the public prosecutor on September 1, he was not named as a defendant in the case, nor was he in court Monday, local media reported.
Plaintiffs in the case called for compensation of 50 million CFA francs for L'As and 10 million CFA francs in compensation for an employee of 24 Heures who was injured in the attack.
Lawyers for the defendants called for the accused to be released, APS reported.