27 September 2012

Zimbabwe: No Agreement On Final Election Date As Mugabe Sets Out 'Roadmap'

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

The MDC formations in the coalition government have both insisted that there is no agreement on a final election date, despite a 'roadmap' that Robert Mugabe has laid down in court papers.

Mugabe's office has applied for yet another extension on a court ordered deadline to call by-elections for vacant constituencies, saying in court papers that harmonised elections will be held in March next year. The court application argued that there is not enough money for by-elections to fill the many vacancies across the country. The application is also arguing for a postponement on the basis that general elections will be soon.

"The applicant's desire is to hold harmonized elections in the last week of March 2013 and a proclamation to this effect will be made at the appropriate time," the application says. Mugabe's office also said in the court papers that the constitutional referendum will be held in November.

According to Douglas Mwonzora, the spokesperson for the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe cannot decide on an election date with consulting his coalition government partners. He told SW Radio Africa that nothing has been set in stone, and emphasised that the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) was still a priority.

"For us it is not a question of when an election is held. It is a question of the conditions the election will be held under. Right now, the conditions aren't right for free, fair, democratic elections. Key reforms (dictated by the GPA) must be done first," Mwonzora said.

The MDC-Ts spokesperson raised concern that Mugabe was using the court order on by-elections as a 'route' to call general elections that have not been agreed to by the rest of the government.

"We don't agree with the abuse of the courts and if this is the route that ZANU PF is taking, it is a manipulative, dishonest route, and we don't agree with that," Mwonzora said.

The MDC led by Welshman Ncube meanwhile also insisted that the court application filed by Mugabe's office is merely a legal process, "not a clear an clarion call for elections." This is according to the party spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube who told SW Radio Africa that the country is not ready for an election yet. He said that, while elections next year "are a given," they are more likely to be in June.

"A constitutional referendum in November is just not possible. It is more likely to be next year, and then an election will follow," Dube said.

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