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‘No elections this year’

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Contrary to Zanu PF insistence this week that elections will be held this year, the South African facilitation team to the Zimbabwe political crisis yesterday reiterated polls can only be held when all the provisions in the GPA and the election roadmap are fulfilled.

The team’s comments come in the wake of Wednesday’s declaration by the Zanu PF politburo that elections would be held this year no matter what.

Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesperson, said the politburo had unanimously re-endorsed the party’s Mutare congress resolutions on elections.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s international relations advisor and spokesperson of the facilitation team, Lindiwe Zulu, yesterday said restated positions should be fulfilled first before elections could be held.

Zulu is on record saying elections in Zimbabwe were not feasible this year.

“In as far as elections are concerned, there are certain processes that need to be followed, among them implementing everything in the election roadmap. It’s not for the facilitation team to determine when elections will be held, but they should be held when the environment is conducive, when all parties are happy and when the institutions that are supposed to run the elections are in place,” said Zulu.

“. . . We have to bear in mind that the roadmap was crafted by the negotiators, who represented their parties and it was adopted not only by the Troika, but the whole Sadc. We, therefore, expect the roadmap and also the GPA to be implemented before elections are held.”

Zulu said the facilitation team would not be distracted by comments made (by Zanu PF or anyone else) outside the negotiation process as her team only dealt with negotiators.

She said her team would soon meet the negotiators to work on the timelines, which would be presented at the Sadc summit in Angola next month.

The negotiators have agreed on timelines and presented them to principals, but Zanu PF has refused to accept them claiming they would drag elections into next year or 2013.

Speaking soon after the politburo meeting on Wednesday night, Gumbo said their chief negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa, had taken them through the issue of election timelines, but the party had rejected them.

“Some of the timeframes are unacceptable, given that they will drag elections until next year or 2013,” Gumbo said, adding Zanu PF would push for elections this year.

Political analysts meanwhile declared Zanu PF’s wish for elections this year would most certainly hit a brick wall because Zuma and Sadc would not accept another disputed election.

Political analyst John Makumbe said it was practically impossible to hold elections this year adding it was “crazy” for Zanu PF to believe the politburo could unilaterally impose its decisions.

“They are clearly living in the past and are refusing to realise that they are no longer the ruling party. Now there is an inclusive government and they are part of a three-legged pot, so it’s no longer the politburo which runs the country,” he said.

Another analyst, Charles Mangongera, said it was clear Zanu PF would soon be forced into an embarrassing climb-down over the election demands because other GPA partners and Sadc won’t accept polls without a clear roadmap.

“These are just statements of bravado, but at the end of the day, Zanu PF will soon have its tail between the legs, considering the stance taken by Zuma and Sadc,” he said.

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