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MDC warns on rushed polls

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The Welshman Ncube-led MDC yesterday warned government against fast-tracking general elections on the basis of a recent Supreme Court ruling compelling President Robert Mugabe to proclaim by-elections dates for the three vacant Matabeleland seats by August 30.

In a statement, MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said the ruling must not be used as an excuse to force the country to hold general elections before full implementation of the election roadmap proposed in the Global Political Agreement.

“The outcome of the Supreme Court must not be used as a pretext to fast-track the calling of national general elections anytime before we have fully completed the reforms, which have been agreed and adopted as a precursor by Sadc,” he said.

Dube said the measures included a new constitution, end to political violence and cleaning of the voter’s roll.

The three seats fell vacant in 2009 after the MPs — Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East), Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East) and Abednigo Bhebhe (Nkayi South) — were expelled from the MDC in 2010 over charges of working in cahoots with the MDC-T.

Dube said any attempts to use the Supreme Court order to justify a rushed election would be an affront to democratic practices.

“We are firm believers in the principle of the rule of law and to that end fully appreciate that there was no room for the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe to make any other decision if they had to be faithful to the letter of the law,” he said.

“This decision was therefore expected and is correct.

“It is also correct that the law is clear that within 90 days of a vacancy in the House of Assembly or Senate a by-election must be called.”

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) yesterday commended the Supreme Court for directing Mugabe to urgently pronounce a date for the by-elections.

In a statement, ZESN chairperson Tinoziva Bere said: “The Supreme Court has expressly showed that people are entitled to choose representatives and to be represented.

“ZESN further congratulates the three former legislators who instituted this
court action.”

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