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‘No polls unless goals are met’

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South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team in the Zimbabwean political impasse says it will see to it that the goals set by the global political settlement are met.

President Robert Mugabe recently declared the Zanu-PF party would make sure the constitution referendum was conducted in May and then push to announce an election date.

Zanu PF has threatened to oust Zuma as Zimbabwean mediator in the Sadc.

But Lindiwe Zulu, spokesperson for Zuma’s team, said: “We have not lost hope in Zimbabwe. We are still engaged with the three principals to find common ground in electoral reforms. We made it clear that there won’t be elections in Zimbabwe unless the set goals are met.”

In its periodic review, the Zimbabwe Peace Project revealed that since Zanu PF made its intentions clear to hold elections this year, there had been a 15% increase in political violence. Mugabe last week described the inclusive government as an “animal’ in his renewed call for elections.

The MDC-T has said it would only participate in an election when the constitution-making process was finalised.

“The MDC is ready, but will only participate in an election when all the conditions for a free and fair election are met,” it said.

Many people feel Zuma has slowed down on the Zimbabwe debate, particularly because of the internal politics he is facing within the ANC.

However, Zulu denies this: “That is not an issue at all. Even though we do not yet have a date to come to Zimbabwe, we will eventually come. We have commitments we are working on before coming there.”

Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa said last week Zanu PF’s call for elections was manipulative.
“There are some politicians who want to derail the constitution-making process so that the people go to polls under the Lancaster House constitution, which was only meant to be a transitional document,” Dabengwa said.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) said South Africa’s deafening silence on political developments in Zimbabwe was “worrisome”, saying there was need for Zuma to put sustained pressure on Harare.

In its latest ballot report, Zesn support body said while they applauded Zuma’s mediation role in Zimbabwe’s political impasse, he seemed to have lately “taken a back seat”.

“Zesn is largely of the view that Sadc has to some extent taken a back seat and has not provided enough pressure to for the full implementation of the GPA,” said Zesn.

Zesn described Mugabe’s call for elections before the finalisation of the constitution-making process and implementation of agreed reforms as “worrying”.

According to Zesn, other sticking points which must be addressed before the polls include cleaning up the voters’ roll, repealing Posa and Aippa and guaranteeing the Zimbabwe Election Commission is separated from the executive.

Zesn director, Rindai Chipfunde Vava, has meanwhile welcomed the launch of the Declaration of Global Principles for Non-partisan Election Observation and Monitoring.

The launch was made in New York last week.
(Additional reporting byTimes Live)

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