The drought this year makes the political environment unsuitable for elections as it leaves the masses exposed to vote-buying by unscrupulous political parties, MDC president Welshman Ncube has said.
Ncube, who is also Industry and Commerce minister, was addressing hundreds of supporters of his party at Ntepe Business Centre in Gwanda on Saturday.
He said apart from the conditions that have to be met in terms of the Global Political Agreement — which gave birth to the inclusive government of the two MDC formations and Zanu PF — before elections can be held, the drought that has ravaged most parts of the southern region made the political climate unsuitable for “free and fair elections” .
Recently, government announced that from its assessment 500 000 hectares of maize was now a write-off throughout the country and announced it would extend the grain loan scheme to next year.
“Last week, a Cabinet taskforce was set up to look for grain now, not to wait until people are starving,” Ncube said.
“As we were driving here, we saw a sorry state of affairs because we had poor rains and the crops were virtually a write-off.
“You cannot have elections when the situation is like that.
“You risk having unscrupulous politicians embarking on vote-buying.
“People (will be) giving out food and saying vote for me even if I am the one responsible for your impoverishment.”
Earlier he had explained the political situation in the country was not “ripe for elections”.
“There are things that we agreed on in the Global Political Agreement and those things should have been implemented and one of the key things is a new constitution which should guarantee free and fair polls, not like the situation with the 2008 election results which were held for one month,” Ncube said.
“We don’t want such a situation. How could people take 30 days failing to add votes.
“Failing to do simple arithmetic, which a Grade Two pupil can do?” he added amid laughter from the audience.
“We need an independent electoral commission in place.
“We require media reforms so that State media can write the truth without fearing for the loss of their (journalists) jobs.”
The MDC leader said while the principals in the inclusive government had agreed to preach the message of peace, there was need for Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe to send a “clear and unequivocal message that he means it when he says he wants to see peace”.