Parties gang up against poll date

HARARE - A grand coalition of political parties in Zimbabwe has set stringent conditions to which the much anticipated elections will be held under, stating that the July 31 deadline set by the Constitutional Court is impossible.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai representing MDC,  Mavambo Kusile Dawn leader Simba Makoni,  Zanu Ndonga chairperson Reketai Semwayo, Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa and Edwin Mushoriwa presenting Welshman Ncube-led MDC attended the meeting.

They insisted that before elections are held, a mandatory 30-day period of voter registration should be held as well as amendments of other laws that have a bearing on the polls.

The political parties yesterday told journalists in the capital after a three hour closed-door meeting that the forthcoming polls will only be held if certain conditions prescribed in the new constitution and those outlined in the Sadc election roadmap are fulfilled.

Indications are that the parties are planning to boycott the next elections if they are held without the necessary reforms.

The five main political parties minus Zanu PF resolved to take the matter up with Sadc stating that they will not entertain an election that is disputable done in the “spirit of complying with the Constitutional Court’s ruling.”

“The political leaders expressed reservations about the practicality of the July 31 deadline set by the Constitutional Court and resolved that they will communicate their position to Sadc,” a statement read MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai after the meeting said.

“They (political leaders) noted that the court action, ironically supposedly informed by the desire to safeguard the rights of the individual applicant, has resulted in the infringement of rights of millions of Zimbabweans, in particular the right of eligible voters to have adequate tome to register and elect a government of their choice in a free and fair environment,” said Tsvangirai, the group’s spokesperson said.

Last week, the Constitutional Court ordered that elections should be held before July 31 and told President Robert Mugabe to announce the preferred date.

The court led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and eight others ruled that a postponement of polls beyond July 31 would be a violation of people’s rights.

Seven judges of the bench conquered in their individual rulings that elections should be held by July 31, while two others -Deputy Chief Justice, Luke Malaba and Justice Bharat Patel gave disserting judgements stating that the July 31 deadline is unconstitutional.

The two judges stated that the executive-who are the president, prime minister and cabinet, can run the affairs of the country for four months after the collapse of the current parliament on June 29.

Mugabe, who will battle it out with Tsvangirai, Ncube, Dabengwa and Makoni among other political leaders in the coming elections, has hinted that he will abide by the court’s ruling.

However Edwin Mushoriwa, deputy to Ncube said he doubted whether the 89-year old leader will do so considering his previous action on court judgements and the legacy he would want to leave after the elections.

“The issue is not about holding of an election, it is about having undisputed results and a scenario where the winner is able to work with the loser for the purposes of developing this country.

“I believe that the Constitutional Court has a mechanism of reviewing their judgements, and if it is in the interest of the public, it would be advisable for it to sit and have a re-look at the judgement,” Mushoriwa stated.

According to the statement, the forthcoming extra-ordinary Sadc summit should make a final determination as to how Zimbabwe will have elections as well as ensure that all agreed reforms are implemented.

The political leaders stated that security chiefs should stop meddling in the country’s political affairs as it a violation of the new supreme law which requires that the military should not be actively involved in civilian politics. - Xolisani Ncube

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