No agreement on final election date as Mugabe sets out ‘roadmap’
By Alex Bell
The MDC formations in the coalition government have both insisted that there
is no agreement on a final election date, despite a ‘roadmap’ that Robert
Mugabe has laid down in court papers.
Mugabe’s office has applied for yet another extension on a court ordered
deadline to call by-elections for vacant constituencies, saying in court
papers that harmonised elections will be held in March next year. The court
application argued that there is not enough money for by-elections to fill
the many vacancies across the country. The application is also arguing for a
postponement on the basis that general elections will be soon.
“The applicant’s desire is to hold harmonized elections in the last week of
March 2013 and a proclamation to this effect will be made at the appropriate
time,” the application says. Mugabe’s office also said in the court papers
that the constitutional referendum will be held in November.
According to Douglas Mwonzora, the spokesperson for the MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai, Mugabe cannot decide on an election date with consulting his
coalition government partners. He told SW Radio Africa that nothing has been
set in stone, and emphasised that the implementation of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) was still a priority.
“For us it is not a question of when an election is held. It is a question
of the conditions the election will be held under. Right now, the conditions
aren’t right for free, fair, democratic elections. Key reforms (dictated by
the GPA) must be done first,” Mwonzora said.
The MDC-Ts spokesperson raised concern that Mugabe was using the court order
on by-elections as a ‘route’ to call general elections that have not been
agreed to by the rest of the government.
“We don’t agree with the abuse of the courts and if this is the route that
ZANU PF is taking, it is a manipulative, dishonest route, and we don’t agree
with that,” Mwonzora said.
The MDC led by Welshman Ncube meanwhile also insisted that the court
application filed by Mugabe’s office is merely a legal process, “not a clear
an clarion call for elections.” This is according to the party spokesperson
Nhlanhla Dube who told SW Radio Africa that the country is not ready for an
election yet. He said that, while elections next year “are a given,” they
are more likely to be in June.
“A constitutional referendum in November is just not possible. It is more
likely to be next year, and then an election will follow,” Dube said.
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