Thursday, September 01, 2005

Zim rewrites constitution


The slate of amendments, the 17th since independence from Britain in 1980, strips landowners of their right to appeal expropriation and declares that all real estate is now on a 99-year lease from the government.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said this would stop 5,000 evicted white farmers from frustrating land redistribution to black Zimbabweans.
"It will close the chapter of colonization," Mr. Chinamasa said during a stormy half-hour debate that preceded the vote.
The bill also gives the government authority to deny passports if it is deemed in the national interest.
"This will take away the right of those people to go outside the country and ask other countries to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe," said Mr. Chinamasa, who is among 200 of Mr. Mugabe's elite barred from traveling or owning bank accounts in the United States and European Union countries.
The overhaul also calls for a new 66-seat Senate to be formed, which critics charge the ruling party will use to increase its patronage powers.

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