Bloomberg News

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Says Talks Over Elections Make Progress

September 06, 2011

(Updates with Mugabe comments in third paragraph.)

Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, said talks with the Movement for Democratic Change party have made progress in preparing for elections.

“Parties to the global political agreement have agreed to milestones and timelines in preparation for the holding of national elections,” he said at the opening of Parliament in Harare, the capital, today.

Lawmakers should lead the push for reconciliation and “national healing” in the southern African nation to ensure against political violence before elections, Mugabe said.

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, led by the 87-year-old Mugabe, and the MDC formed a coalition government in 2009 after a disputed vote. MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of a presidential run-off vote in 2008, citing violence against his supporters. The Southern African Development Community, a regional group of 15 countries, wants a referendum on a new constitution before another round of elections, indicating the vote may be held next year.

Investments by companies in Zimbabwe are safe, Mugabe said, urging them to comply with a law that compels foreign and white- owned companies to sell 51 percent of their local assets to black citizens of the country.

The government is working on setting up a state company to lead mineral exploration, Mugabe said. It is also planning new laws on diamond mining, he said.

Zimbabwe, which has the second-biggest reserves of platinum and chrome after neighbor South Africa, gave mining companies until June to submit plans to sell stakes. Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., the world’s second-largest producer of the metal, may invest as much as $10 billion in Zimbabwe to expand production if the government backs down on the demand, David Brown, its chief executive officer, said Aug. 26.

--Editors: Gordon Bell, Karl Maier

To contact the reporter on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Johannesburg at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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