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Electoral reforms a must — Mutambara

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DEPUTY Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara yesterday told Parliament electoral reforms were a must before elections and that the Constitutional Court decision ordering the holding of polls by July 31 was final and could not be contested.

Report by Veneranda Langa

Mutambara also told the House of Assembly that foreign governments like South Africa should not interfere with the court ruling as that would be tantamount to undermining Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.

He was responding to questions by Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo and Nyanga North MP Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T), who wanted to know the implications of the Constitutional Court ruling given the country’s political scenario.

“Once the final arbiter, which is the Constitutional Court, has spoken, constitutionalism demands that we must respect that judgment and bow to it whether we like the decision or not, and whether we feel offended by that decision and feel it was wrong,” Mutambara said.

“Given the July 31 deadline, our first charge is to ensure that every Zimbabwean is registered and is allowed to vote, allow for free and fair elections, allow media reforms and that there is political will to deploy the resources required for elections.”

While attacking what he called South Africa’s interference, Mutambara added: “We should work together in implementing those reforms instead of discussing the correctness of the decision with foreigners like South Africa. Whatever our decision is, we should not allow foreigners to desecrate and violate our national sovereignty. We cannot have a foreigner saying that our court ruling is wrong — how dare! Foreigners should respect Zimbabwe’s laws and it is within those laws that we are going to implement the election roadmap.”

Mutambara said four years were wasted on bickering and lack of political will to implement the reforms, adding the government was guilty of incompetence, serving self-interests and corruption.

On election funding, Finance minister Tendai Biti was asked by Mutasa North MP David Chimhini (MDC-T) to explain if it was possible that diamonds could finance elections.

“We do not have any other resources to fund elections and I want to restate that. There is a lot of goodwill out there to fund elections, but unfortunately there is political deficit — a kwashiorkor — and people are not interested to fund and waste money on an illegitimate, violent and rigged election. The person at the epicentre of thwarting funding is the Justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who is frustrating the capacity of the UN and Sadc to fund the elections.”

He said if $400 million had been received from diamond revenue in 2012, government would have been able to fund the census, referendum and elections.

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