'Poll outcome will be disputed'

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai maintains that if elections are held before July 31 the outcome will not be free and fair.

Speaking to church leaders in Bulawayo last week, the MDC leader said while Zanu PF can go ahead and announce poll dates; the outcome for such a poll will be illegitimate since they would take place without the full implementation of an election roadmap.

With the sun setting on the coalition government formed at the behest of Sadc in 2008 to accommodate rivals Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe — the MDC leader said any efforts by Zanu PF to push for elections without fully implementing an agreed electoral roadmap “is misdirected, miscalculated and a direct affront to the dictates of the constitution.”

Last week the Constitutional Court ruled that Zimbabwe should hold elections by July 31, a verdict that has triggered much debate with some legal experts saying the timeframe between now and the court deadline is too short to align existing laws with the new constitution. On the Constitutional Court ruling, Tsvangirai said the outcome was only effective as a result of political activism.

He said in as much as there is respect for the constitutional court ruling the implications far outweigh outstanding issues that guarantee free, fair and credible elections.

“No, we are not going to legitimise what is illegitimate. To Sadc we are going to say Robert Mugabe has refused to honour any agreement. Sadc as a stakeholder will be there until a proper election is held. Why did you invite South Africa? Why did you invite Sadc? It is because you wanted them to rescue our situation and so we cannot blame them for that,” he said.

Sadc is set to meet soon to discuss among other issues poll funding as well as an election roadmap that will ensure the outcome of the impending elections will be acceptable to all parties.

“We will reach our destination. We have been through the mill. We are tried and tested. We have gone through a lot of trauma in this region through Zanu PF. All those are tests on whether we are committed to achieve change. The national mood confirms that this time we are going to make it. It does not matter which church you belong to we all deserve something positive.”

Tsvangirai said if Zanu PF can proclaim election dates they can go ahead but to the MDC that is not feasible.

“I know you have expectations of the new dispensations but it’s up to you to ensure that the change you want means something to you,” Tsvangirai told church leaders in Bulawayo last week.

The former trade unionist was on a whirlwind tour of Bulawayo as he drums up support for his party ahead of crunch elections.

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