Zimbabwe must reform before poll - SADC

2012-06-02 19:58

Harare - Regional leaders mediating in Zimbabwe said they want to see democratic and constitutional reforms before fresh elections can be held next year.

The Southern African Development Community called on Zimbabwe's coalition government to work on a new constitution and put it to a referendum to adhere to the terms of the power sharing deal brokered by the group in 2009, according to a statement released by the group Saturday.

Chief mediator, South African President Jacob Zuma, will help set a time frame for elections, the group said after a Friday summit in the Angolan capital of Luanda. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were at the summit.

Mugabe has called for elections this year to end the troubled coalition government.

"It appears the new push would be for elections in March, 2013," said Dewa Mavihinga, coordinator for an alliance of Zimbabwe democracy groups. He said that Mugabe's Zanu-PF party conceded that the push for polls in 2012 wasn't possible.

Mugabe, however, still insisted polls can be held this year, the state Herald newspaper reported Saturday.

"We discussed the situation in our country and we all made contributions. We should go and finish the business to see when we can have elections within the time left for us. We want elections to be held this year," Mugabe said, The Herald reported.

Next 12 months

The newspaper, controlled by Mugabe loyalists, also quoted regional leaders saying elections should be held within the next 12 months.

The rewriting of the constitution is behind schedule and has been plagued by bickering between members of a parliamentary panel in charge of it.

A panel of Zimbabwe lawmakers has proposed a referendum by September at the earliest. The finance ministry, controlled by Tsvangirai's party, says there isn't enough money to hold two quickly successive votes.

Independent election monitoring groups also say voter lists are still in disarray and need a full overhaul to remove voters who have died and electors who appear to be listed to vote in more than one district.

On a trip to Zimbabwe last week, UN Human Rights Commission Navi Pillay warned that early elections without reforms were likely to cause a repeat of widespread violence and killings during the last disputed elections in 2008 that led to the formation of the coalition.

Only free and fair democratic elections would be recognized internationally and by the region, she said.

  • Lacrimose - 2012-06-02 20:24

    In the last +_ 20 yrs SADC and the AU have been making statements like this to the Mugabe-regime. We've all seen the consequence of "quiet diplomacy". Again, another toothless statement with ZERO consequences. Just more cute soundbites for the media.

      Lacrimose - 2012-06-02 21:16

      @thumbsdown - name one meaningflu or significant thing that either SADC or AU has done to remedy the situation in Zimbabwe? The best SADC came up with was to open their borders to Zimbabweans. They've done nothing to improve or alter the situation except for secret talks from which they emerge "hopeful" and "too soon to tell" and "this is a process of quiet diplomacy". It's a flat-out, flagrant dictatorship. On the other side of the world these same SADC/AU leaders have plenty to say about democracy and liberation and alleviating African people's suffering but meanwhile, back at the Kraal, nothing is done.

      Gerhard - 2012-06-03 15:22

      JZ is going to sort this out??? Since when do you make a goat a gardener?

  • Jacob - 2012-06-02 20:48

    All African leaders are suffering from a stone age hangover. They dont want to adress human rights issues. You can never address development without the former coloniser. They'r a human resource

  • Jacob - 2012-06-02 20:50

    All African leaders are suffering from a stone age hangover. They dont want to adress human rights issues. You can never address development without the former coloniser. They'r a human resource

  • eddie.serane - 2012-06-02 22:56

    This is national anthem 2 SADC leaders coz u are always singinig the same song

  • Michael - 2012-06-03 00:24

    should have gone to the hague long long time ago

  • Jenny - 2012-06-03 09:03

    Yes Zimbabwe - please hurry and reform. South Africans need somewhere to go to once the ANCYL start land grabs here!

  • - 2012-06-03 09:17

    It's at least better that the Elections aren't going to be held this year. Whether they'll be free and fair is another story. On the other hand, Bob isn't the first African leader to lose an election and somehow stay in power.If Zimbabweans and other African countries (RSA too) don't start finding competent leaders soon, our continent will carry on along its current path to becoming the African Desert.

  • Ron - 2012-06-03 14:11

    The new Constitution must limit the power of the political parties and the politicians while placing real power in the hands of the People. The People must elect their representatives – not the Party. The People must elect the cabinet ministers – not the Party. The government must be subservient to the People with an independent judiciary, police force and security forces. The Cabinet Ministers must be set performace targets each year – and impeached if they do not deliver. The agricultural and tourism sectors must be restored to professional levels to create employment and foreign currency. Education needs to be redeveloped to restore the world-class standards they had pre-1980. Top-class medical care needs to be available to all at local level. Infrastructure needs to be rebuilt to facilitate economic growth, and to create employment. Crime, including corruption, needs to be fought with zero-tolerance – and the crimes against the people committed by the ZANU-PF regime must be dealt with by the People, and the perpetrators dealt with severely. All Zimbabweans, including those in the diaspora, should be involved in the reconstruction and resurrection of Zimbabwe. It's time for regime change.

  • terrencetinosi.bhebhe - 2012-06-14 00:12

    its possible to have elections in 12 months time as long as the peoples constitution is ready. lm sure political parties are campaigning now so 3months after the passing of the constituton, an election is possible.

      Lacrimose - 2012-06-14 00:55

      Elections have always been possible over the last 30 years. Most have been declared as un-free and unfair by asstd IECs. Yet the outcome has always been enforced. Investigations into voter-tampering were met with violence, banning, media blackouts. And so arose the "quiet diplomacy" of SADEC and the AU, which has been in force since 1996. The question is, now, will another farcical general election RESULT be accepted by the people of Zimbabwe, SADEC and the AU when again, the IEC will rule it to be unfair?

  • pages:
  • 1