Mugabe remains steadfast on election date
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe says he will hold elections by July 31,
despite calls by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for reforms first.
“We will work in accordance with that judgment [of the Constitutional
Court],” Mugabe said on Sunday in Japan during an interview with the
Zimbabwe state-owned Spot FM radio. Mugabe was attending an international
summit on African development in the Asian country.
“The time has come for elections to be held,” the 89-year-old veteran leader
was quoted as saying.
The polls will end a unity government led by Mugabe and Tsvangirai that was
formed in February 2009 after violent and disputed polls the previous year.
The two have already confirmed they will run against each other in this
‘We must obey’
Mugabe’s comments came after Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court ruled on Friday
that the Southern African country must hold elections by July 31.
“We must obey [the judgment]. I do not want to offend against the law,”
Mugabe said without setting a date for the polls.
Freelance journalist Jealous Mawarire had asked the Constitutional Court to
compel Mugabe to announce an election date before the tenure of the current
Parliament ends on June 29.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka charged that the court
“overstepped its mandate” in setting a deadline for the polls.
The “court has no power whatsoever to set an election date. An election date
is the responsibility of the executive,” he said in a statement.
Tsvangirai (61) has been calling for security, media and electoral reforms
to enable Zimbabwe to hold credible polls.
The Southern African Development Community last week announced a special
summit to assess Zimbabwe’s readiness for the general elections.
The Sunday Times reported that the summit, to be held in Mozambique’s
capital, Maputo, should take place next weekend.
The meeting will review a number of issues, including the cash-strapped
government’s efforts to raise $132-million budgeted for the elections. – AFP