16 April 2013

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Says No Agreement By Principals On UN Visit

Photo: Zanu-PF
President Robert Mugabe

The principals in the inclusive government have been meeting in the last two days to iron out critical election disputes, including the barring of a UN assessment team that was blocked from entering Zimbabwe last week.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai revealed Tuesday that Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa had been given authority by the principals to seek external funding for elections, but they could not reach an agreement because the UN mission sought an unrestricted mandate to meet whoever they wanted.

ZANU PF is unhappy with the UN's conditions to meet civil society organizations.

"The two ministers will continue to persuade the UN to have a reduced list - especially a list that will focus primarily on those institutions, political parties and organizations that have anything to do with elections," Tsvangirai told journalists shortly after holding a meeting with President Robert Mugabe.

The Prime Minister added: "So that is still an outstanding issue and I hope the two ministers will convince the UN team to proceed because I think funding from that body will only be conditional if they are allowed to have unrestricted access to various bodies and institutions."

The UN mission returned to New York at the weekend after being stuck in Johannesburg, South Africa for several days.

The PM said the government is also looking at modalities of mobilizing funding internally without necessarily ignoring the need for external support.

Biti told journalist Monday that if there was honesty in diamond revenues, Zimbabwe should not even be asking for election funds from outsiders. He said Zimbabwe's diamond exports were $800 million last year but only $45 million went to the Treasury.

Meanwhile, the partners in the coalition government, who are currently squabbling over the date of the harmonized election, have also assigned Chinamasa and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga to draw up a roadmap to a "possible position where the principals are able to set the date."

Tsvangirai said the ministers will consider the legal and political issues surrounding that roadmap. "There are legal issues like the constitution has to be signed by the President. We need one voter registration, one month for the voter inspection and one month notice and we have to consider the last day of parliament," the PM pointed out.

He said parliament, which opens early next month, will definitely be dissolved on June 29th, but the executive has four months to run elections - up to October.

Tsvangirai said the same ministers have been tasked to look at laws to be aligned to the new constitution or to be adjusted so that parliament can amend the laws before the end of June.

He said a meeting will be convened with the four political party leaders in government, including Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube, next week to look at the proposed road map.

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