Zimbabwe: MDCs Can Forget About Reforms - Chinamasa

FRESH from cobbling together an agreement on the constitution after incessant bickering for nearly four years, Zimbabwe's major political parties appear to be heading on another collision course after Zanu PF rejected the MDCs' demands for further reforms before elections can be held.

Zanu PF negotiator and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said there would be no more reforms as stipulated by the Global Political Agreement - precursor to the Government of National Unity -- and Sadc roadmap to elections.

"We agreed that the completion of the constitution is the only stumbling block towards the holding of elections," said Chinamasa in an interview. "The renewed calls for reforms by the MDCs are an agenda to try and avoid elections."

Chinamasa said the issue of reforms was never raised at Tuesday's meeting with the Sadc facilitation team comprising President Jacob Zuma's international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu and political adviser Charles Nqakula.

"We met them (Zuma's team) and gave them an update with regards to the constitution and referendum. The team was happy with our efforts and achievements as the country prepares for elections."

Chinamasa then rubbished the MDCs' calls for media reforms.

"What reforms are they talking about now?" asked Chinamasa. "We agreed with them to complete the constitution and prepare for elections, but they go out there and say they want reforms. The MDCs have failed and they are likely to lose the elections.

"They thought we were not going to agree on the constitution and now they are hiding behind reforms in order to avoid elections," claimed Chinamasa.

MDC-T secretary-general and Finance minister Tendai Biti told a media briefing on Tuesday that his party would continue pressing for major reforms before elections are held to ensure there is no repeat of the violence which engulfed Zimbabwe in the 2008 elections after Zanu PF was defeated by the MDC.

"We can have elections tomorrow but if there are no reforms it will be one step forward and 20 steps backwards and we will have a similar situation like we had in 2008," said Biti, whose party demands reforms to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission among other measures in its Conditions for a Sustainable Election in Zimbabwe document launched last year.

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