. Africa News .

Zimbabweans approve new constitution by landslide
by Staff Writers
Harare (AFP) March 19, 2013

Nearly one in ten S.African soldiers has HIV/AIDS: army
Johannesburg (AFP) March 19, 2013 - The South African army Tuesday said 8.5 percent of the country's 79,200 soldiers have HIV/AIDS, angrily dismissing claims of a higher prevalence rate.

The surgeon general of the South African National Defence Force, Vejay Ramlakan said a study conducted in 2012 "showed a prevalence rate of 8.5 percent compared to the national prevalence rate of about 19 percent".

"This is in stark contrast to claims by some academics the last few years that the HIV and AIDS infection rate among soldiers is as high as 28 percent," said a statement.

South Africa has no law barring infected people from serving in the army, in a country where some six million people are living with the HIV virus.

As many as 1.7 million people are on the state-funded anti-retroviral programme, the largest in the world.

Almost 95 percent of Zimbabweans have voted in favour of a new constitution that would trim President Robert Mugabe's powers and pave the way for new elections, results showed Tuesday.

Tallies of the weekend referendum released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission showed 3,079,966 voters backed the new constitution and 179,489 were against.

"The majority of the votes were received in favour," said Lovemore Sekeramayi, the official in charge of the vote tally.

"It is declared to have been adopted by the people of Zimbabwe."

Some 56,627 ballots were spoiled, meaning that of the estimated six million Zimbabweans eligible to vote, 3.3 million exercised that right.

Mugabe and his long-time rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai both backed the draft, which will usher in fresh polls to end the pair's tense unity government.

The text also limits presidents to two five-year terms in office, boosts parliament's powers but abolishes the post of prime minister.

The measures are not retroactive, so Mugabe if re-elected could serve for another 10 years -- until age 99.

Tsvangirai welcomed the result, saying it "sets in motion a new and democratic paradigm for the country."

"Millions voted for a new era that respects human dignity; an era that will see the broadening of basic human rights."

Mugabe, a Catholic, was at the Vatican Tuesday for the inaugural mass of Pope Francis.

He is expected to set an election date by March 31, with the vote taking place anytime before the end of October.

While the referendum was hailed by the United States and regional observers as peaceful and credible, the run-up to the vote was marred by isolated incidents of violence against both leaders' party officials.

A day after the Saturday vote, four of Tsvangirai's staffers were arrested along with a leading rights lawyer who was giving them legal assistance.

The four have been charged with breaching the official secrets code, impersonating the police and illegal possession of documents for criminal use.

Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa faced a separate charge of obstructing the course of justice.

She continues to be held in police custody, despite the high court ordering her release.

That has raised fears that elections, pencilled in for July, may see a flare up of intimidation and bloodshed that has marred past elections.

Tsvangirai has called for an urgent summit of southern African leaders to safeguard elections and assess whether in Zimbabwe they can really be free and fair.

There are also doubts about whether the gears of Zimbabwe's legislative process can move fast enough to ensure rules designed to underpin a fair vote are implemented in time.

It will now take 30 days of legislative technicalities before the draft is signed into law.

A constitution amendment bill has to be tabled, debated and approved, although this is likely to be a formality.

According to McDonald Lewanika of the Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition sections of the law that affect the elections could be revamped now, with the rest coming into effect after the vote.

"It is almost certain that elections will be (held) this year," he said.

Jonathan Moyo, a member of ZANU-PF's supreme decision making body, the politburo, told AFP it was possible for parliament to move quickly.

Amending the electoral laws in line with the constitution could be finalised even within weeks, he said.

"Its adoption as a bill is a formality... there is no basis for grandstanding or politicking to waste time. It can be done in a day," said Moyo.

Moyo said law drafters are already working on the changes that will impact directly on the holding of polls.

"The fact that when the process started in April 2010 it was expected to last 18 months, now we are in our 47th month, there is no need to waste time.

"There is more than enough time to align the electoral laws with the constitution," he said


Related Links
Africa News - Resources, Health, Food

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


Army, police shadow looms over Zimbabwe polls
Harare (AFP) March 15, 2013
Zimbabweans go to the polls Saturday to vote on a new constitution that would pave the way for elections, but many believe the army and police, not voters, may ultimately decide the country's fate. While the referendum on the constitution is largely expected to be fair, the main event - elections slated for July - may be decided by the outsize influence of a handful of those close to Presi ... read more

Study: Farming by man was long in coming

Study Offers New Insights on Invasive Fly Threatening US Fruit Crops

UEA research reveals catastrophic loss of Cambodia's tropical flooded grasslands

Haitian farmers call for 'food sovereignty'

Great white sharks bite off far more than believed: study

Natural climate swings contribute more to increased monsoon rainfall than global warming

Discards ban could impact seabirds population

Globe's giant squids may be single species

Earth's Interior Cycles a Contributor to Long-Term Sea-Level and Climate Change

Dinosaur-era climate change study suggests reasons for turtle disappearance

Middle East faces alarming water loss

Drought declared in New Zealand's North Island

'Earth Hour' evolves into springboard for wider action

India is fourth largest energy consumer

The household carbon emission per capita in Northwestern China is only 2.05 tons CO2 per year

Court battle looms over Chile power plant

Researchers building stronger, greener concrete with biofuel byproducts

Microalgae could be a profitable source of biodiesel

Biobatteries catch breath

Biodiesel algae: Starvation diets damage health

Where, oh where, has the road kill gone?

Nuclear-hit Fukushima to get 20,000 cherry trees

Walker's World: The best news yet

US welcomes Albania offer to resettle Iran exiles

Hong Kong light pollution 'one of world's worst'

China to more than double air monitoring network

Little faith in China leaders' pollution promises

Dead pigs contaminating Chinese river?

Chinese workers jailed for high-rise demo in Singapore

China sets sights on S. America resources

U.K. envoy move eases Paraguay isolation

China foreign direct investment overseas soars 147%

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement