Everything rests on Mugabe's shoulders

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe must prove to Zimbabwe and the rest of the world that he is prepared to see through the reforms that he agreed to at the consummation of the inclusive government.

Mugabe agreed to a raft of reforms with his coalition partners  — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara when they agreed to form the inclusive government upon signing the Global Political Agreement in September 2008.

And the three parties have moved closer to completing the biggest reform — adopting  a new constitution — a key condition which is seen as paving way for the holding of free and credible polls.

We have just concluded a referendum and the draft needs to be endorsed by Parliament in May when it resumes sitting.

But plans by Mugabe to hold elections on June 29, when his term and parly’s expire, are a serious cause for concern.

This is worrying because Parliament will have to pass a new constitution which in turn unlocks the voter registration exercise and preparation of a fresh voters’ roll.

Critically, key amendments would be made to the Electoral Act before polls are held.

Given the necessity of these key issues, it is therefore surprising and suspicious that Mugabe sees logic in going ahead with polls whilst hoping that all these would have been undertaken in the shortest period of time.

In terms of the Constitution the life of Parliament terminates on June 29, 2013, by which date harmonised elections must be held in the country, according to Mugabe who filed an urgent High Court application last week seeking to delay announcing election dates by end of day today.

This is the basis of the request for the court to allow Mugabe to delay calling the by-elections on condition that he ensures the harmonised elections are held by June 29.

Three members of Parliament from the smaller MDC had filed a court application seeking to compel Mugabe to hold by-elections in constituencies that no longer have representation.

But everything rests on Mugabe’s shoulders because he’s got to show the world that he is prepared to move Zimbabwe forward.

This can only be demonstrated by allowing a process that leads to free and credible election.

Anything outside this will be viewed as a ploy to take Zimbabwe backwards at a time the international community has signalled it is ready for re-engagement.

It is our hope that Mugabe allows time to take its course. - Staff Writer

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