Mugabe's do or die date

HARARE - PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has insisted that the country will hold harmonised elections by June 29 when the life of the Seventh Parliament comes to an end.

Addressing members of the Zanu PF central committee at his party headquarters in Harare yesterday, Mugabe said the mandate of the inclusive government and Global Political Agreement (GPA) will expire together with Parliament’s term.

“This two or three-headed creature called the GPA is coming to an end, the clock is ticking. This is May and at the end of June, whether anyone likes it or not nguva inenge yakwana, the sun will set.”

And in pointed remarks apparently aimed at Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s ongoing regional diplomatic offensive to drum up support for his party’s position, Mugabe said no amount of lobbying will scuttle his June poll date.

“And for the holding of the poll, you can go to any African country or Europe to prevent the day but the sun is setting on June 29,” Mugabe vowed.

“You can go and say please America the day is coming but it is unstoppable. The creature that has helped others is going to die that day. It is a natural death and it is ending. We are not going to negotiate on that matter,” Mugabe said to rapturous applause from the gallery.

Mugabe spoke as Tsvangirai had just met Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja in the latest leg of his diplomatic offensive to Central and West Africa to drum up support for his party’s position.

Tsvangirai on Thursday met Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba in Libreville and later met with Jonathan in Abuja to press for Africa’s support for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

Earlier, he had held talks with Tanzanian President and Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Troika chairperson Jakaya Kikwete whom he told Mugabe was hoodwinking the regional bloc and surreptitiously planning a peaceful but rigged election.

He also had had a brief stopover in the Angolan capital Luanda where he met with the Foreign minister, Georges Chicoti.

Last Sunday evening, Tsvangirai met South African leader and Sadc facilitator in the Zimbabwe dialogue Jacob Zuma in Pretoria and emphasised the need for a mini-regional summit to speed up reforms ahead of the crunch poll.

While Tsvangirai was calling for the alignment of laws to the new constitution passed on March 16, Mugabe also urged his Zanu PF legislators to pass the Constitutional Bill when it is introduced in Parliament on Tuesday.

He said if the Bill fails to sail through the house, Zimbabwe will revert to the 19-times amended Lancaster House Constitution. He rallied party members to mobilise support and get ready for the elections.

“If the Constitutional Bill does not pass on Tuesday when it will be introduced in Parliament,  we will go to elections and if people dilly-dally with it and fail to pass it, we shall continue to use the old  Lancaster Constitution,” Mugabe said.  

“We have had it for 33 years and it is good enough. Some will want to delay it hoping to stop the elections.

“We are going to be leaving everything in the hands of (Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick) Chinamasa, our lawyer and we hope kuti vanorovera bhora mugedhi.”

The central committee meeting yesterday following a marathon Zanu PF politburo meeting that started at 3pm on Friday and ended on Saturday morning  discussing  the party’s state of  preparedness ahead of the key polls.  

Mugabe informed the central committee that his party had agreed on the need to go ahead with the process of selecting candidates, and the warring factions in Manicaland Province had agreed to bury the hatchet and work together.

The rules for aspiring party candidates for Zanu PF is that one should have been a party member for more than five years and should have held a post in the party structures.

There will be exemptions for those who have worked in the diplomatic sector or in government.

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