JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa on Wednesday reportedly blocked Zanu PF’s bid to push for the June 29 polls, arguing that there was still need to negotiate with MDC parties to realign old laws with the new Constitution to ensure electoral laws amendments would sail through Parliament, it has been learnt.
REPORT BY JOHN NYASHANU
He reportedly told the Zanu PF politburo meeting in Harare that if President Robert Mugabe were to unilaterally announce election dates, the MDCs may stall the process.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources confirmed to NewsDay yesterday that Chinamasa had poured cold water on the party’s proposed poll deadline during the politburo meeting held soon after Mugabe had assented to the new Constitution.
“He advised the politburo that it would be suicidal for the President to announce an election date as the realigned laws would not pass Parliament where a single majority is required,” the source said.
The MDCs would carry the day as they outnumber Zanu PF if they combined forces.
In an interview with NewsDay on the sidelines of the signing of the new Constitution by Mugabe on Wednesday, Chinamasa confirmed that the focus was now on realigning electoral laws.
“Now that the President has assented to the Constitution, you need to know that there are certain provisions of our laws that should be aligned to the new Constitution.
These provisions have much to do with the elections. We should amend our electoral laws to align them to new provisions in our Constitution, such as the proportional representation of women and selection of senators,” Chinamasa said.
“Those provisions that have to do with elections come into effect on the publication date. The rest will come into effect after the swearing in of a new president.
“We have already begun the process of aligning the laws to the Constitution. We have met three times as negotiators to agree on the amendments. After we agree, we have to bring the amendments before Parliament so that they can be enacted into law.”
Zanu PF’s poll plans are off the rails with the party admitting that the latest politburo meeting failed to resolve the impasse on rules and regulations for primary elections as well as finding common ground on probes in provinces being led by party chairperson Simon Khaya-Moyo.
Party national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told NewsDay yesterday: “The rules and regulations on primary elections are yet to be finalised as we are still ironing out certain areas. There is also the issue of women representation and we are still working on our manifesto . . . The probe team (led by Khaya-Moyo) is yet to present its report.”
Zanu PF has been making spirited efforts to have elections held by June 29, arguing that it is when the lifespan of the inclusive government would end as Parliament would automatically dissolve.
But the MDCs remain adamant that electoral reforms agreed at the consummation of the Global Political Agreement have to be fulfilled first including the completion of the voter registration and education exercise.