- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2008


Power-sharing faces delay

HARARE | Key aspects of Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal will not go in effect until next month, a government-controlled newspaper said Wednesday, adding to concerns that President Robert Mugabe’s agreement to cede some power for the first time in 28 years could founder.

Zimbabwe’s constitution needs to be changed to create the post of prime minister, which is to be filled by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Under the power-sharing deal signed Monday, Mr. Mugabe remains president.

The amendments would be introduced before parliament when it opens next month, Mugabe aide Patrick Chinamasa told the government-controlled Herald newspaper, saying there will be no move to open parliament before Oct. 14 as originally planned.

Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leader of a faction that broke away from Mr. Tsvangirai’s party, have pledged to make the deal work. But long-simmering and bitter differences as well as the nation’s economic collapse have put the deal under intense pressure.


Militants claim to destroy pipeline

LAGOS | Nigeria’s main militant group said Wednesday that it had destroyed an oil-pumping station and a pipeline crossing southern Nigeria in a rare daylight attack extending violence in the region into its fifth day.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said in an e-mail that it had destroyed the pipeline. If confirmed, it would be the group’s second attack in a 24-hour period.

The group earlier said it attacked an oil-pumping station overnight, destroying the flow station run by the local unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC after battling security forces protecting the site. Military spokesman Lt. Col. Sagir Musa confirmed the incident, saying that eight boatloads of militants attacked the facility with bombs, dynamite and hand grenades.


Political protesters to block borders

MBABANE | Swaziland unions and banned political parties plan to blockade border posts Thursday in protest of parliamentary elections Friday in Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

The protests, which will be supported by South Africa’s Confederation of Trade Unions, are aimed at pressuring King Mswati III to recognize political organizations in the impoverished country.

The blockades are planned for all four border posts with neighboring South Africa.

Political parties in the tiny landlocked southern African country were banned in 1973 by King Sobhuza.

Parliamentary elections are held every five years, after which the king appoints a new prime minister. More than a third of parliament’s 85 members are hand-picked by the king, who also makes all government appointments.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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