17 May 2013

Zimbabwe: Election Date Will Only Be Decided After Voter Registration

The date for an election will only be decided when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission completes its voter registration and inspection exercise, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said.

The MDC-T leader said when the new constitution comes into effect, ZEC will have to roll out a 30 day voter registration exercise followed by another month of voter inspection.

'Once these are done, there shall be consultations around the date for elections,' said Tsvangirai, adding that certain laws will have to be aligned with the new constitution when it is enacted.

'When President Mugabe assents to the new constitution, there shall be alignment of all the laws that impinge on the elections... laws such as AIPPA and POSA,' he said in an interview with South Africa's News24.

Bill Watch, the Parliamentary watchdog, has highlighted the number of reforms agreed to by parties to the GPA, that have not been implemented.

There has been no electoral reform, such as the preparation of a new voters roll or looking at the staff at the electoral commission. Senior ZEC staff are the same as during the violent and discredited 2008 elections.

Political analyst Willis Manunure said that most of the issues to do with elections will be dealt with by parliament during the 'realignment' of the new constitution.

He said other contentious issues such as security sector reform will be dealt with at regional level by a forthcoming extraordinary SADC summit on Zimbabwe which will look at the election roadmap.

'If you have listened to the MDC recently, they no longer talk of security sector reforms. They are calling for the security of the vote, the security of the voter and the security of the outcome of the vote.

'Recently Tsvangirai went on record to say Zimbabweans must vote in peace without intimidation, victimisation, violence or being forced to attend a political meeting of this or that party,' said Manunure.

Recently, members of civil society organisations said the first step to a lasting solution to the political crisis in Zimbabwe will be a credible fresh election that is supervised by SADC and monitored by the AU and broader international community.

'Such an election must be free of violence and acceptable to all. SADC should ensure that Zimbabwe elections are held in full compliance with SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

'SADC should deploy observers to Zimbabwe to closely assess the electoral environment before, during and after the elections. The invitation and accreditation of all observers should fall exclusively under the management and control of an independent ZEC and should be done timeously to allow other administrative processes to take effect,' the CSO's said in a statement.

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