Tsvangirai fumes over poll date
Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court has in effect backed President Robert Mugabe’s call
for polls to be held on July 31, earlier than the opposition leader, Morgan
The country’s highest court, headed by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku,
announced its ruling on Friday after an application by Jealousy Mawarire, a
little-known rights activist, for Mugabe to announce an election date.
Mugabe will seek regional endorsement for early polls on Sunday at a summit
in Maputo of the Southern African Development Community. But Tsvangirai will
press demands for immediate political reforms, both in the security and
media sectors and in voter registration, which his Movement for Democratic
Change says are essential for fair elections.
Mugabe was pushed into signing a power-sharing Global Political Agreement
after the disputed 2008 elections, but the opposition says Zanu-PF has
dragged its heels and the playing field is far from level.
The next elections are also hamstrung by disputes over funding. Tsvangirai
said at the weekend the court had “overstepped its mandate” by ordering a
“The Supreme Court has no power to set an election date. In the true spirit
of separation of powers, an election date remains a political process in
which the executive has a role to play,” he said. “SADC and the people of
Zimbabwe know that an election date is a result of political pronouncements
in which the judiciary has no role to play.”
Zanu-PF welcomed the court ruling and rejected any commitment to prior
Political commentator Tanonoka Whande said Tsvangirai had been played by
“I think it’s all just cooked up and the MDC does not even know how to
respond. I suspect this court thing is a set-up … who is this unknown man
[Mawarire] who sued to pressure Mugabe to hold elections? The reality is we
are not ready for elections yet,” he said.