New election hurdle for Zim

2013-06-30 08:00

Zimbabwe finds itself in a chaotic situation after its parliament’s term expired on Friday, while the Constitutional Court hearings seeking a poll date extension filed separately by the three principals were shelved until further notice.

The expiry of the five-year parliamentary term means moves to stop President Robert Mugabe have almost failed because there is no parliament to amend the raft of Electoral Act changes he had made.

Welshman Ncube and Morgan Tsvangirai had scored an early lead in Maputo at the Southern African Development Community summit (SADC), where the regional bloc agreed Mugabe’s controversial decisions should be reversed in parliament.

But since the Maputo summit, things have been going slowly, with Zanu-PF legislators boycotting serious government matters, and instead concentrating on party politics where many heavyweights lost in crucial primary elections.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti this week confirmed that concerns are increasing.

“We have since stopped operating as a united government, and since that proclamation things are not working well,” said Biti.

Decisions made by Mugabe by decree, such as announcing the election date, brought together political parties in a coalition that sought to stop him.

Armed with the SADC’s consensus, the parties came home only to be ignored by Zanu-PF, which went ahead and filed a “weak” urgent court application.

Ncube and Tsvangirai then countered Mugabe with their own separate urgent court applications on the same matter – forcing the Constitutional Court to ask for more time to deal with the issue.

As it stands, it is not clear when Zimbabwe will go to the polls.

Recently, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson told journalists that elections could be held as late as October 31.

“SADC did not suggest a date. To us, the date is subservient to the reforms. The reforms should come first and the latest we can have elections is by October 31,” said spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka.

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