The Herald (Harare)

28 September 2012

Zimbabwe: We're Ready for Polls, Say Parties

Photo: IRIN
Zimbabweans at the polls. (file photo)

POLITICAL parties say they are ready for harmonised elections early next year if reforms and the roadmap set in the Global Political Agreement are met.

This follows President Mugabe's urgent chamber application in the High Court seeking to extend the deadline to proclaim dates for by-elections.

The President argued that if by-elections were to be held, there would be three key events to take place and funded by Government in the next six months.

The other two events are the Second All-Stakeholders' conference and the referendum. In separate interviews yesterday, political parties said they were ready for the elections. Zanu-PF said it was prepared and was putting in place financial resources for the polls. The party's secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa said the party was geared for the election.

"Right now we are putting in place financial resources to use in these elections."

Cde Mutasa dismissed the issue of reforms being agitated for by the MDC formations. He said they would not allow the weakening of Zimbabwe's security sector under the guise of reforms. "If they do not want the elections, they should not participate," he said.

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said his party was not concerned with the proclamation of elections dates.

"For the MDC, the question is not so much about when elections can be held, but conditions under which the elections are to be held.

"We want these elections to guarantee the secret of the vote and the secret of the voter. There are fundamental key reforms that have to be undertaken before elections are held."

Mr Mwonzora said conditions were not yet conducive for free and fair elections. He said MDC-T was ready for elections, not war. Under the GPA, he said, President Mugabe should agree with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on election dates. "The court cannot be used to run away from the obligation placed upon the President under the GPA. Under the GPA, President Mugabe must agree with the Prime Minister in setting the election dates."

Mr Mwonzora said the easiest way to go to elections was to quicken electoral reforms such as completion of the Constitution-making process. MDC deputy spokesperson Mr Kurauone Chihwayi said they were confident of winning the next election. "If elections are to be held there are certain conditions that have to be done such as leveling the playing field where people can campaign freely.

"We have been preparing for these elections and we are confident of winning the presidency and the majority in Parliament," he said. Mr Chihwayi said if people reject the draft Constitution, the country would go to elections using the Lancaster House Constitution. MDC99 leader Mr Job Sikhala said elections should be held under a new Constitution.

"We are not going to accept any elections without the new Constitution. People of Zimbabwe have been waiting for this Constitution for a long time.

"We will disrupt and fight any person who calls for elections under the Lancaster House Constitution," he said.

Mr Sikhala said people have lost confidence in the Lancaster House Constitution and have been anti-British since 1980. Zanu-Ndonga acting president Mr Gondai Vutuza said his party was eagerly awaiting the elections.

"People of Zimbabwe are sick and tired of the inclusive Government. Zimbabweans need a party that safeguards the interests of the liberation struggle and the sovereignty of their nation," he said.

Mr Vutuza said his party had liberation credentials, making it a formidable contender to the highest office.

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