Polls in 2012 a pipe dream — analysts


As the country starts a new year, political analysts have said there are no prospects of an election in 2012 as conditions on the ground, “are not likely to change for the better anytime soon”.

Zanu PF at its annual conference last month resolved that the country must hold general elections this year.

This was after President Robert Mugabe spent most of last year complaining that the coalition government he formed with his foes in 2009 was dysfunctional.

President Mugabe says the inclusive government formed after his disputed 2008 re-election was never meant to be a permanent arrangement.

But critics say with the drafting of a new constitution still far from being complete and a number of reforms outstanding, Zimbabwe cannot hold credible elections this year.

Award-winning Bulawayo playwright and political commentator Cont Mhlanga said it would take a miracle for the country to have an election this year.

“We will need a miracle,” Mhlanga said. “But if we are looking at the proper path needed for us to have an election, it is not possible this year”.
Mhlanga said because both the former sole ruling party and former opposition politicians, were “enjoying power”, it would take Zimbabwe a decade to hold proper elections.

“The party that was ruling (Zanu PF) used the GPA (Global Political Agreement) to hold onto power in the first year,” he said.

“They ensured that the needed reforms were not implemented.

“In those months, politicians from the MDCs were experiencing how sweet it is to be in power.

“In the second year, you heard them turning around and saying an election was impossible without reforms.

“So there will be no elections in the foreseeable future because in all truthfulness, none of the parties wants reforms or elections,” the outspoken artist added.

Mhlanga said the constitutional referendum would not produce a new constitution and the next elections would still produce “another arrangement”.

“As a writer who deals with characters and characterisation, we are going back to the 2000 situation on the constitution.

“Once the draft constitution is tabled, Zanu PF will take a stand and the MDCs will take a stand to oppose Zanu PF’s stand.

“All these people are not interested in progress because of intolerance.

“They will mess up that process such that we create another animal similar to the inclusive government.

“We will have proper elections maybe after 10 years from now,” he said.

Zapu southern region spokesperson Methuseli Moyo said if there were no polls this year, Zimbabwe would need a caretaker government.

“The lifespan of the GNU (government of National Unity) would have expired then,” he said.

National University of Science and Technology academic Lawton Hikwa said if the country failed to hold elections this year, it would only be able to do so in 2014.

“Zanu PF wants elections this year, while the other two principals have said until constitutional reforms are fully implemented, there can be no elections,” he said.

“In 2013 we will be hosting the tourism summit and that means it will be impossible to hold elections in that year.

“If we miss elections this year, we can’t have them in 2013. We would rather have the GPA fulfilling its full term.”

According to media reports last year, Zimbabwe requires $150 million to refurbish Victoria Falls Airport as the country steps up preparations for the 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation summit to be jointly hosted by the resort town and Livingstone, Zambia.