SADC must craft poll road map

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says the forthcoming regional summit slated for South Africa this weekend should craft a final election roadmap in preparation for polls.

Tsvangirai made the statement at a meeting with civil society members in Harare, saying he will not participate in an election without full implementation of reforms outlined in the new Constitution.

“Sadc has to come up with an election roadmap which guarantees free and fair elections that are legitimate and credible,” Tsvangirai told civil society leaders. “That is the message that we have communicated to Sadc and the facilitator.”

Rights groups questioned Tsvangirai about the country’s preparedness to hold elections within the next 40 days.

The MDC leader, who is in a coalition government with arch-rival President Robert Mugabe, said elections could be held anytime provided electoral and constitutional reforms enriched in the new constitution are implemented.

“It doesn’t take time to implement reforms; all we need is political will,” Tsvangirai said. “It doesn’t take a month to change Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings board of directors; it only needs a day to change the editorial policy at Zimpapers.”

Okay Machisa of ZimRights and trade unionist Raymond Majongwe appealed to Tsvangirai to use his office so that the coming polls are violence-free and legitimate.

“Right now teachers are being victimised my prime minister,” Majongwe said. “They are being denied opportunity to participate in elections because they are members of Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe. We have unilateral transfer of teachers in Harare to semi-urban areas please do something for us.”

Pedzisayi Ruhanya, director of Zimbabwe Democracy Institute queried the feasibility of Zimbabwe holding polls before July 31 to which the MDC leader said Mugabe will have to approach the court seeking an extension of the date if he wants the poll to be legitimate. - Xolisani Ncube

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