8 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Electoral Amendments Will Determine Poll Dates - Ncube

CONTRARY to reports elections are likely to be held at the expiry of the life of the current parliament and completion of the new constitution, MDC president Welshman Ncube has said electoral amendments which should be syncronised with the new governance charter will determine dates for the polls.

Ncube said elections can only be held around September after the Electoral Act has been aligned with the new constitution.

"Even if nothing is done to dissolve parliament, the constitution says whether you want it or not, parliament will stand dissolved on June 29, 2013," Ncube said.

"However, completion of the new constitution does not mean the country can hold elections. There are other processes which must be done such as electoral reforms to introduce proportional representation. There is no way elections can be held without such amendments," he said.

Ncube also said elections can only be held 60 days after the president has proclaimed the date.

"After the March referendum the new constitution will be passed into law between April and May, the electoral amendments need to be effected and then the president will proclaim the date for elections," he said.

However, the inclusive government partners are facing a huge challenge in implementing the electoral roadmap as contrasting views are emerging, with Zanu PF threatening that no reforms would be entertained after the adoption of the draft constitution.

The roadmap requires that principals in the inclusive government agree on a raft of reforms which are "milestones and signposts that must be executed and implemented before the holding of free and fair elections".

Under the elections roadmap, the parties agreed on the issue of sanctions, the constitution-making process, media reforms, electoral reforms, restoration of the rule of law, freedom of association and assembly and the actual election process.

Currently only the draft constitution has been completed and would soon be put to a referendum and elections held thereafter.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the constitution-making process was the only yardstick, according to the GPA (Global Political Agreement) that has been delaying elections.

"Our position as Zanu PF is very clear; general elections should be held after the completion of the constitution-making process," Gumbo said.

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