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Sadc, PM reject Mugabe poll calls

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PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said President Robert Mugabe has no legal mandate to unilaterally decide election dates and dismissed his weekend utterances over the issue as nothing but “public posturing”.

Report by Dumisani Sibanda

Addressing journalists in Mt Pleasant, Harare, where he had accompanied his children to register as voters, Tsvangirai said: “My understanding of the legal position, the constitutional position, is that once the constitution has been signed into law there are certain legal and political processes that have to be put in place (before election dates can be decided).”

Tsvangirai’s remarks came hard on the heels of a Sadc Troika communiqué issued over the weekend where the regional leaders who met in South Africa last week urged the parties in Zimbabwe’s coalition government to implement the outstanding issues of the GPA as a pre-condition for the holding of elections.

Mugabe last week told delegates attending a Zimbabwe Local Government Association conference in Mutare that he would announce election dates this week, adding Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa would single-handedly prepare the election roadmap.

Tsvangirai yesterday rejected this position and said: “There is no way one person can determine the date of the elections. President Mugabe cannot wake up one morning and declare (the date of the elections) without us (principals) sitting down and agreeing on the roadmap to that election, agreeing on the date.

“This is what Sadc has determined (at its Troika meeting in South Africa last week) and this is what is going to happen. I urge you please to ignore, disregard any public posturing that may be taking place.

“The real truth of the matter is that there is no one with the power to unilaterally decide the date of elections. If anyone decided to do that in full view of the constitutional position then it would be a violation of the agreement and violation of the law and that is not going to be accepted.”

Mugabe and his Zanu PF party are pushing for elections to be held by June 29 this year. Their argument is that the life of the coalition government ends then.
However, the two MDCs have resisted the move demanding that elections be held after outstanding issues of the GPA, including electoral and other reforms, are implemented.

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