SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: Mugabe to Announce Referendum and Election Dates Soon

President Robert Mugabe could announce dates for a referendum and general elections next week, after the draft constitution successfully sailed through Parliament and the Senate.

A highly placed source told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that Mugabe, in consultation with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, had decided on the election date.

The source told us the adoption of the draft in Parliament paves the way for Mugabe to announce the date and end the country's anxiety and speculation. He said this could be anytime from now.

The draft constitution is ready for a referendum after its passage in Parliament and this gives Mugabe the powers to proclaim the election dates. Newspaper reports over the weekend suggested the leader of the former ruling ZANU PF party wants this year's elections to be held on June 29th.

COPAC co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora told us this week that the draft will be translated into nine of the country's official languages.

By next week the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will effectively take over the baton for this last phase and start preparing the public for the referendum.

The public vote has to take place within 60 days from the publication of the proposed constitution. ZEC will have 30 days to conduct civic education.

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