- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 16, 2005

ZIMBABWE

Police break up opposition meeting

HARARE ” Police broke up a meeting of the main opposition party yesterday ahead of parliamentary elections next month and arrested a senior official, a party spokesman said.

“The police have arrested our elections coordinator, Ian Makone, but they have not said on what charge,” said Paul Themba-Nyathi, spokesman of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The party poses the stiffest challenge to President Robert Mugabe’s 25-year-rule.

Zimbabwe’s tough security laws require police clearance for all political gatherings. The MDC last year threatened to boycott the coming March 31 parliamentary elections, saying conditions in the country are not conducive to free and fair voting.



UGANDA

Charter revised; Museveni can stay

KAMPALA ” The government has moved to amend the constitution to allow President Yoweri Museveni to seek a third term in office, but tempered the proposal with a provision to return to multiparty democracy, officials said yesterday.

The proposed changes were presented to lawmakers by Khiddu Makubuya, justice and constitutional affairs minister, late Tuesday for a first reading, parliamentary spokesman Bernard Eceru told Agence France-Presse.

The legislation has been forwarded to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny and will be subject to at least two weeks of debate before it is presented for a vote, Mr. Eceru said. It would repeal a constitutional provision limiting a president to two five-year terms and allow Mr. Museveni to seek re-election next year.

Weekly notes

Presidents from several African countries began summit talks yesterday in Chad on ways to ensure respect of a cease-fire in the Darfur region of western Sudan. The two-day meeting brings Gabon’s Omar Bongo Ondimba and the Republic of the Congo’s Denis Sassou Nguesso to Ndjamena to join Idriss Deby of Chad, Omar el-Bashir of Sudan and Alpha Oumar Konare, a former president of Mali and now chairman of the commission of the African Union. … Nigeria thinks Togo will reverse last week’s military-backed power grab by its new leader, Faure Gnassignbe, and return to constitutional rule, Foreign Minister Olu Adeniji said yesterday. Speaking after talks with Togolese officials in Lome, where he was a member of a West African delegation, Mr. Adeniji said: “The outcome of the meeting was very encouraging. In principle, they gave us the impression that they will go back to the constitution, but there are still some details on which we have to wait until they announce it,” he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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