President Robert Mugabe’s plan to call for general elections in March next year was yesterday rejected by his coalition partners, who described it as a flagrant violation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Report by Everson Mushava
Mugabe revealed his plans for a referendum on the new constitution in November and harmonised elections in the last week of March 2013 in a High Court application seeking to delay three by-elections in Matabeleland on Wednesday.
The two MDC formations in the inclusive government dismissed the move as unilateral and illegal.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the party would not agree to fresh elections before sufficient reforms.
“Mugabe cannot set election dates alone. Elections will only be held after key reforms are made,” he said.
Mwonzora said the MDC-T was not afraid of any election conducted in a free and fair environment.
He said the onus was on Mugabe to facilitate the reform agenda to avoid an election similar to the 2008 polls that were marred by deadly violence.
MDC deputy spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said the playing field was not yet level for an election, although his party was ready for polls.
“Elections can only be held around June 2013, considering that we haven’t created fair conditions,” he said.
“The MDC has done everything to make sure that it wins both the Presidency and the majority in Parliament.”
Sadc, the guarantor of the GPA, has repeatedly said Zimbabwe should implement electoral reforms before holding elections. Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo supported Mugabe’s position, saying it was always the party’s position that the constitution-making process must be followed by fresh elections.
“We have always said we will go for elections after the constitutional referendum,” he said.
“The process is getting to an end and the referendum will be on soon after the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference. After that, we go for elections.”
He dismissed the claims by the MDCs that reforms were needed first before the elections, particularly on the issue of the State security sector.
“Some of the reforms are administrative and can be decided by Parliament. As for security sector reforms, that is a no-go area, let’s not talk about it.”
Top State security bosses have been accused of stalling security sector reforms while openly declaring their allegiance to Zanu PF.
Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said the environment was not conducive for free and fair elections.