Zimbabwe

Mugabe wants Zim elections this year

2011-05-19 12:13

Special Report

Mugabe's wife Grace completes PhD in 3 months
Mugabe's wife Grace completes PhD in 3 months

Soon after being shoe-horned into the top ranks of Zimbabwe's ruling party, the wife of ageing leader Robert Mugabe has gained a PhD in orphanages, seen as the latest sign that she may be destined for the high office.

Harare - President Robert Mugabe says Zimbabwe should have fresh elections this year, once the country holds a referendum to adopt a new constitution, a state daily reported on Thursday.

"We should not delay the process any further than is necessary," The Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying in an interview.

"Once you have gone to the people and asked their views and if they support that constitution why should we wait any further," he said. "Then we proceed to hold elections because that is the mission of the global political agreement."

"We have now said to ourselves let's establish timelines... and see whether the timelines required cannot all be fitted into 2011," he added.

Mugabe and long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government two years ago to avoid a descent into full-fledged conflict in the aftermath of a bloody presidential run-off election.

As part of the pact the parties agreed to a raft of reforms including amendments to the media and electoral laws and drafting a new constitution before new elections.

But public consultations on a new constitution have been repeatedly postponed after outbreaks of violence, mainly blamed on the supporters of Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

Since its formation, the unity government has been marred by disagreements and boycotts, with Mugabe last year suggesting that elections be held to dissolve the deal.

Tsvangirai has said that elections were not possible before reforms were in place.

Last month a senior member from Mugabe's party said the country could see polls at least in 2013, but others in his party continue to insist on polls later this year, in an unusually public show of dissent within the ranks.

Local business leaders and central bank chief Gideon Gono have voiced concern saying the country is not ready for polls.

- AFP

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa
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