These include allowing Zimbabweans in South Africa to vote. Minutes of a meeting between President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, seen by Sunday Times, show the principals agreed on several points of electoral and media reform.
They also agreed to keep Mutambara in his current post in the government, despite growing complaints from Industry and Trade Minister Welshman Ncube, who has replaced him as the leader of the smaller MDC faction.
The minutes, dated May 10, contained in a memo written by Dr Misheck Sibanda, the chief secretary to the president and cabinet, say several key issues were approved at the principals’ meeting this week.
They say an agreement has been made to push the Electoral Amendment Bill to introduce electoral reforms agreed by the global political agreement negotiators.
The minutes also reveal that the principals have agreed to allow Zimbabweans in Southern African Development Community countries, including South Africa, to vote in the next elections for the first time.
There are millions of Zimbabweans in SADC countries, mainly South Africa. Most of the Zimbabweans in the region fled political repression and economic problems at home.
“Provision should be made enabling Zimbabweans domiciled in SADC countries to vote. Pursuant to that principled decision a paper should be prepared spelling out the mechanism for making this possible,” the minutes say.
“The chief secretary (Sibanda) will advise the minister of justice and legal affairs to incorporate this decision into the Electoral Amendment Bill and arrange for the above paper.”
The minutes further say that the GPA negotiators’ recommendations on a polling station-based voters’ roll must be implemented.
“The recommendations of the negotiators on this issue should be implemented. Pursuant to that decision measures should be taken to ensure that voters do not feel intimidated by one side or the other in the run-up to the polls.”
The minutes also indicate that media reforms agreed by negotiators must be implemented. This includes the appointment of a mass media trust board to ensure government does not directly interfere in the operations of Zimpapers, a listed chain newspaper company.
The principals also agreed that a new board of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe should be appointed soon to ensure that radio and television licences are issued to new players before the elections.