Mugabe must stick to court deadline

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday got a reprieve as the High Court granted his request for a by-election deadline extension to October 1 and this simply means he has to comply without fail.

The extension was reached after an amicable negotiation between Mugabe’s legal team and those calling on him to declare the dates.

Zimbabweans expect Mugabe to keep to the agreed dates, look for funds to run the elections and put all electoral logistics together for a fair and democratic vote.

While we respect the decision by the concerned parties to give Mugabe a lifeline, we would like to see the court’s ruling fulfilled without further delay.

Section 39 of the Electoral Act requires Mugabe to set dates for a by-election 14 days after being informed of the vacancy, hence the President cannot continue to make excuses for dates he should have set months, if not years before.

While the courts have made it clear that Mugabe is in the wrong for failing to timely announce by-election dates, his resource constraints excuse has set him free.

As the head of state Mugabe should lead by example and uphold the rule of law.
He should set aside cash to bankroll the by-elections without fail.

Zimbabweans are hopeful that the much anticipated by-elections would be held in a peaceful environment and we call on Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to make sure the vote is incident-free.

This vote is important in many ways and more so as it will be a measure on the preparedness of Mugabe to hold general elections which he has been clamouring for.

We hope in the next 30 days we will see, not only resource mobilisation for polls, but also the resourcing of electoral bodies and human rights commissions which are integral for holding peaceful elections.

We would also want to see a completion of the stalled constitution-making process in the next month, so the groundwork for credible elections should be set.

No further excuses Mr President as far as the High Court decision is concerned.

We hope to see the law being respected and this time with no further delay even by the President.

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