Mugabe says poll timing beyond his control

2011-10-07 07:58

Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe yesterday said the country’s coalition government was illegitimate and needed to give way to an elected administration, but said he could not determine when a fresh vote could be held.

Mugabe has been pushing for a poll to end a power-sharing government he formed two years ago with his bitter rival Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, following disputed 2008 elections.

Addressing his Zanu-PF supporters in Harare, 87-year-old Mugabe accused Tsvangirai and the MDC of “dragging their feet” and delaying the writing of a new constitution, a key step before any new elections are held.

“Those riding on the chariot of this creature (unity government) and enjoying it don’t want the pleasure to go,” Mugabe said.

“It is an illegitimate one because it’s a political creature not really born out of the wishes of the people but the wishes of the parties to create a transition to elections.”

While expressing his frustration at ideological and policy differences within the coalition, Mugabe said the timing of a fresh vote was not entirely in his hands.

“I am sorry we have not been in control of the mechanisms, mechanisms that we thought would lay the road to an election this year in terms of our decision taken at our last conference in Mutare (last December),” Mugabe said.

“The constitution-making process has been moving at a tortoise’s pace.”

Zanu-PF declared Mugabe its presidential candidate at a party conference last December and resolved to push for elections this year.

However, the MDC, backed by regional leaders, has insisted on the completion of constitutional and other political reforms before a new vote.

In September, Mugabe vowed to call an election by March next year, despite possible objections from his coalition partners.

Elections are due in 2013 but Mugabe says the unity government ran its course last February.

Analysts say Mugabe’s inner circle wants an early election, fearing the veteran leader may not be able to cope with the demands of campaigning in two years’ time when he will be 89 years old. 

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