Zimbabwe leader wants peace at constitution talks

AP News
Posted: Oct 22, 2012 7:58 AM
Zimbabwe leader wants peace at constitution talks

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's president says a peaceful conference to agree upon a new constitution will help pave the way for national elections he wants in March.

President Robert Mugabe, opening the two-day constitutional meeting Monday, urged 1,300 delegates from all political parties and civic groups "to shame our detractors" who believe Zimbabwe can't solve its problems without violence.

The previous all-stakeholders conference on constitutional reform was abandoned in 2009 after violent disruptions by Mugabe militants.

Reforms to the constitution drafted over the past three years have been plagued by delays and disputes over the reduction of powers traditionally held by Mugabe and his party since independence in 1980.

Mugabe said Monday it was up to the delegates to itemize "imperfections" in the 150-page draft and recommend improvements reflecting the people's wishes.