No election before mid-2013:Biti

ZIMBABWE will not be ready for a presidential election until at least June because it needs a new constitution and democratic reforms to ensure a fair and undisputed poll, MDC-T secretary-general and Finance minister Tendai Biti told Reuters in England on Thursday.

Report by Reuters

President Robert Mugabe, one of Africa’s longest serving rulers accused of hanging on to power through vote-rigging, has called for a new election in March.

But coalition partners including Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe’s old rival, want a new constitution and electoral and media reforms after a violent and disputed poll in 2008 that was condemned by much of the world.

“Zimbabwe clearly is not ready for an election,” Biti told Reuters late on Thursday during a visit to the University of Manchester in northern England.

“It’s impossible to have an election in March,” he said, arguing that the newly drafted constitution, as well as electoral and media reforms, would need to be introduced first to ensure the result of the poll was “credible, legitimate and sustainable”.

Mugabe (88) has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, pushing through policies including the seizure of white-owned farms and forcing foreign firms to hand over majority stakes to local blacks.

His party, Zanu PF, endorsed him again as presidential candidate at its annual congress yesterday. Biti said he hoped a referendum on the constitution could be held in the first quarter of 2013, paving the way for an election between June and August.

“We will limp our way to some form of acceptable agreement,”he said. “Our people are tired. They want a solution. They want peace. So I think we will reach an agreement because everyone is exhausted.”

Biti called on Zimbabwe’s neighbours and international partners — starting with South African President Jacob Zuma – to play an active role in ensuring the process goes smoothly and help support the cost of the referendum and election, estimated at between $150 million and $250 million.

But many fear a disputed election could trigger a new crisis for a country that has been struggling to pay back a $10 billion debt and whose $3,8 billion annual budget is cannibalsed by government wages, leaving little room for investments in infrastructure and growth policies.

Biti has already slashed his 2012 economic growth forecasts twice in recent months, down to 4,4%, from 9,3% in 2011, reflecting the impact of a poor agricultural season and depressed commodity prices.

21 Responses to No election before mid-2013:Biti

  1. Vakeni December 8, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    Its mindblogging that Biti, in 2008 declared that elections should be held within 12 months and they would finish off Zanu(pf). Four years down the road, Biti is now singing a different song and he is not keen on elections, either he is enjoying the ministerial job too much or he is afraid of losing the elections. Elections maybe delayed but they will be held those who lose will lose.

    • tshuma December 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

      ZANU is the one afraid of elections ,why not just implement all that was agreed in the GPA e.g media reforms,give Chematama time to talk on ZTV and your radios if he is not educated as u say,Give Biti Vs Didymus live debate,Mwonzora Vs Rugare Gumbo and let the people decide and give us the referendum so that we decide if our views have been left out or not

      • Mboko December 10, 2012 at 7:18 am #


  2. Robert Mugabe December 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    I admit, Biti is the best finance minister, I have ever had in government throughout my tenure as the Head of State and Cabinet in 1980. From the time he took over the finance portfolio from my once trusted general turned love rival Gideon (Zero) Gono at a tome when inflation had become immeasurable in the country the young man has done a fantastic job. When he speaks hear ye him.

    Mfana akaoma iyeye.

  3. atharu December 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    at least u wll be giving zanu more time to colect campaign cash at roadblocks and diam.mind,remember these funds ar nt sent to th treasury.whr do u think they end up in?

  4. Admire December 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Yesterday we conducted an interview for raggers at our firm.when i got home my child asked me if mugabe have attended the interview,i asked him why mugabe.he said”HE IS THE ONLY RIGGER I KNOW IN ZAMBABWE”

  5. Tawanda December 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    Tawanda December 8, 2012 at 11:16 am #
    Biti is actually afraid of both, loosing the election and his minstrial post. It’s not only him but the bulk of them including Welshman’s small party. We then wonder what sort of democracy they want without elections. They are running scared. Mugabe won against Smith with worse electral laws than the ones in place today. It’s them who are delaying the process of a new constitution over silly issues like devolution and gay rights. Who needs those in Zim except their white gay friend handlers who want to weaken Zim by devolution and take back the land thru back door. Havaite vanhu ava ve “Chinja Babie”.

  6. Tjingababili December 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Someone told us that elections would be held b4 year-end! They lied! Integrity, if any, at stake.

  7. CIO December 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    Iwe Rubaya, chili chinonzi ragger?

  8. musharukwa December 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm #


  9. denso December 8, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    @tshuma.that’s very tru, if zanu pf is not afraid of losing why r we not watching & hearing morgan & his part on the national tv & radio?vakambomutendera toward 2008 march elections zanu pf ikakwaturwa.deep down u know that mdc inoita zvirinani if given the chance.

  10. Madam December 9, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    you guys are good readers. when zanu pf said elections in 2011, mdcs said in 2013 at the expiry of the parliament. the parliament’s life ends and tell me what kind of a democracy will extend a parliamentary life against the laws which created it and its contract with the citizens. parliamentarians took an oath of office to march 2013 and there is no any legal provision in any part of zimbabwe or the globe which legalize thier stay after march 2013.

  11. ma one December 9, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    thanks for making it easy for us to comment on this platform.can somene tell me why its so difficult to do the same with that paper which claims to be popular

    • Mboko December 10, 2012 at 7:22 am #


  12. Dziya December 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    MPs did not take oath of office in March, but after the President was elected. Being elected and taking oath of office are two different terms.

  13. Admire December 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    @cio u don’t know what a rigger is.dhikaz dofo kikiki lol

  14. Henzo December 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Elections as earlier agreed upon: new constitution & full implementation of reforms as pre requisites! Now who is denying pple th chance to vote in a referendum? Who is refusing to grant permission & cover MDC rallies? Hazvishandike zvakadai. Masoja nemadofo aya anozviti mayouth atotanga kevhura ma base ekurovera maMDC. Toda maelections kana tava kubvumirwawo kuungana nekutsigira a candidate of our choice. For yo own info the issue of elections in Zim is not strictly &entirely governed by constitution but by GPA which Mugabe (particularly) & everybody in gvt 2day legitimacy & he cant claim 2day not 2 b bound by it & start obeying th constitution which he is notoriously known worldover 4 disrespecting esp when his interests r not met. Kana musingade implementation bva ngazvigare zvakadaro tione anokaura coz vana vezim hapana anofa kana kurohwa asi mumwe munhu ACHA EXPIRE!!!

  15. ngito donavan December 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    henzo wabaya dobo. Warwadzisa mazanu ese aisa muswe pakati. Ku EXPIRE!!!!!

  16. LIUmbez December 10, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    Its plain and simple if zpf is not afraid of elections why doesn’t it even the playing field? This party knows that the end is nigh for its sunshine politics. Give us reforms and will see what happens.

  17. Eta December 10, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    y ar u crying babie, n’ee even e playin field, we need smooth road to statehouse, n’ee giv us a new constitution, n’ee n’ee, giv us donations, n’ee. Do u think its dats easy. It never cum dat easy chemababie

  18. Eta December 10, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    y ar u crying babie, n’ee even e playin field, we need smooth road to statehouse, n’ee giv us a new constitution, n’ee n’ee, giv us donations, n’ee. Do u think its dats easy. It never cum dat easy chemababie.,

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