SW Radio Africa (London)

18 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai in Charge of Elections for Unity Government

It has been reported that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is taking control of the country's preparations for elections due next year, in his capacity as the principal in charge of policy implementation in the unity government.

Newsday newspaper said this was the purpose of a meeting last Friday between Tsvangirai and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

But Tsvangirai's spokesperson, William Bango, told SW Radio Africa that this is not news, as the PM has been in charge of policy implementation for the government all along, as part of his "job description" and mandate.

"Look at the Constitution and how it defines Mr. Tsvangirai's expected duties. It is very clear this is part of his daily diary. Lots of work has been done in the past four years to prepare. It is clear we are having elections next year and preparatory work must begin now," Bango said.

The PM met with officials from ZEC last week and plans to meet with all the other commissions, including the Constitutional select committee (COPAC) and the media commission.

Asked why Tsvangirai is not pursuing the implementation of the key reforms that were stipulated in the Global Political Agreement, which are meant to lead to free and fair elections, Bango said those reforms had nothing to do with the daily duties of the Prime Minister.

"There is a deadlock and the GPA is very clear as to what happens in that case where there is no agreement. In cases like that it clearly says the matter must be referred to the facilitator for assistance," Bango said.

But the facilitator, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma and his team, have failed to break the deadlock in the Constitutional reform exercise. Without agreement on a new charter by the political parties, there can be no referendum and elections will be delayed even longer.

Some observers have also pointed to the fact that Tsvangirai's party, the MDC-T, continues to be harassed and prosecuted by a partisan police force and judiciary. Their rallies are disrupted and supporters assaulted by thugs, with impunity.

Ironically Tsvangirai is organising an election, in a country where his party cannot freely campaign.

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