War over election timing

HARARE - A war of words has erupted over election timing as parties in Zimbabwe’s shaky coalition government gird themselves for a winner-take-all poll.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday came out guns blazing accusing Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa of jumping the gun by declaring dates of elections.

Reacting to media reports indicating Chinamasa had declared that Zimbabweans would go to elections by June 29 and the on-going crackdown on his office, Tsvangirai through his spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said he would confront President Robert Mugabe.

“The prime minister is not amused that Chinamasa seems to be usurping the powers of the Principals by announcing election dates. Chinamasa is neither the spokesperson of the Global Political Agreement Principals nor that of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

“The issue of elections in Zimbabwe is process-driven and until and unless the right environment has been achieved will the country go to elections,” Tamborinyoka said.

Public media quoted Chinamasa saying the life of the current Parliament cannot be extended and “I am not willing to have elections held after June 29 unless there are circumstances beyond my control”.

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