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Goche defies Mugabe


Zanu PF negotiator Nicholas Goche could land himself into deep trouble by admitting that credible elections are not possible before a new constitution contrary to his partys position that polls should be held this year without fail.

President Robert Mugabe and a combative faction in the former ruling Zanu PF want elections this year, and Goches admission that Zimbabwe can only hold sound polls after the completion of the constitution-making process could anger the ageing leader, who has ruled the country since independence in 1980.

In an interview with NewsDay on Tuesday, Goche sang from the same hymn book with the two MDCs admitting elections were only possible after a new charter.

Goche, who was speaking on the sidelines of a handover ceremony of 44 vehicles donated by the European Union to the Jomic Joint Operation Command, said: Elections must come under a new constitution.

We dont want delays in the new constitution-making process.

The President has said elections will take place under a new constitution.

He has said he does not want the continued derailing of the constitution-making process.
But his statements are in stark contrast to Mugabes position. Last month he insisted a new constitution was not necessary before the polls.

The GPA was about ending violence and holding fresh elections without violence and not holding new elections with a new constitution, Mugabe said.

The GPA was never about writing a new constitution. It was never about a new constitution.
The main issue was about violence and fresh elections without that violence.

Zanu PF secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa also disagreed with Goche yesterday, insisting elections would be held with or without a new constitution.

We have said it before and our position has not changed.

We will have elections this year with or without a new constitution. Since 1980 we have held elections with that old constitution.

If the MDC claimed to have won elections in 2008 using that same constitution, what has changed now? Mutasa queried.

However, the MDC parties remain adamant that No new Constitution, No elections.

Elections will be held after the referendum, whose time frame I dont know as it is up to President Mugabe and PM Tsvangirai to decide, MDC-T negotiator Elton Mangoma said.

MDC negotiator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga also said: The position remains that reforms will be put in place prior to elections.

The contentious issue of holding elections before or after a new constitution spilled into the South African parliament last month, with the countrys Foreign Affairs Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane saying Zimbabwean elections would only be held after completion of the new charter.

Her comments drew the ire of Zanu PF hardliners who felt Nkoana-Mashabane had no mandate to discuss the countrys destiny.

Zanu PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa last year found himself in an unenviable position after he agreed with fellow negotiators, MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti and deputy treasurer-General Elton Mangoma, Misihairabwi Mushonga and Moses Mzila Ndlovu of MDC and Sadc facilitators that elections would not be held this year. Chinamasa said then it is not possible to hold elections this year.

Goche might now be stuck in a dilemma of having to reconcile his party position and that of other negotiators, who include representatives of the two MDCs.

The other problem was that Zanu PF resolved Mugabe would unilaterally call for elections, while negotiators agreed in an elections roadmap that the President would proclaim elections in consultation with the Prime Minister.

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