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Mugabe in poll climbdown


Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday told Parliament that President Robert Mugabe admitted at last Friday’s Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit that he cannot unilaterally call for elections.

Tsvangirai was speaking during the question-and-answer session.

“There is no provision in the GPA (Global Political Agreement) for unilateralism and no one can wake up and just say there is no GNU (government of national unity), let us go for elections. The President even said in Luanda that he has no powers to call for elections unilaterally,” Tsvangirai said in response to a question by Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T).

“Where do people get a situation where someone wakes up and calls for elections? We have to agree because parties are still bound by Constitution Amendment Number 19 and elections are going to be conducted if there is legitimacy and credibility.”

Tsvangirai said Mugabe could only set an election date after consulting other GPA principals, himself and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, and warned that no party in the inclusive government could walk out.

Zanu PF at its last two national conferences resolved to force fresh elections even without agreement from its coalition partners.

Mugabe in April made a threat to unilaterally call for elections if the constitution-making process was not concluded by last month.

But the Sadc summit in Angola urged the Zimbabwean parties to hold the elections within 12 months after concluding necessary reforms.

Mutambara told Parliament Mugabe’s term and those of MPs would expire in June next year.

“It means we should work to implement the necessary reforms in 13 months and go for elections with reforms,” the DPM said in response to a question by Mhondori-Ngezi MP Bright Matonga (Zanu PF).

“The bad scenario is that our GPA allows for a deadlock and it is possible to go for elections this year without a constitution.

“Another bad scenario is where we work together for 12 months until June 2013 and there are no reforms and we go for elections without reforms. That means Copac should put its act together.

“There is the Human Rights Commission Bill and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill and those should be passed yesterday before elections. Let us work together and effect constitutional reforms, media reforms, security sector reforms and pass these Bills and then we will be able to have elections in the right environment,” Mutambara added.

Matonga wanted the DPM to clarify Sadc’s position given the different interpretations by the three political parties.

Mutambara said the principals were ordered to implement recommendations in the GPA as a matter of urgency.

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