Mugabe tries for March election

2012-09-29 18:04

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has jumped the gun, calling for general elections at the end of March 2013.

However, partners in the coalition government have other ideas and analysts say reforms won’t beat Mugabe’s deadline for the poll.

This week Mugabe, without consulting anyone in the power-sharing government, announced through court papers that Zimbabwe must go to the polls on March 31, 2013.

But he reaffirmed elections should be held once there is a new Constitution in place, which he projected would be after a referendum in early November, thus giving him time to announce an election date 90 days prior.

Thus, according to Mugabe’s plans, he would announce the election date in December.

Mugabe was forced into a power-sharing pact with the two MDC formations in 2009 after losing the first round of elections to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008, forcing a runoff that Tsvangirai boycotted and ushering in an SADC-facilitated coalition to run the country with Mugabe as president and Tsvangirai as prime minister.

Even though they are running the country together, one of the biggest problems in the coalition has been Mugabe making major decisions alone.

His latest election date has been scoffed at by the two MDCs.

The MDC-Tsvangirai faction said there was no agreement on when elections would be held.

“There is no such thing as going for elections in March. We did not sit down with President Mugabe as his partners in the coalition government and say that should be the case.

“The Global Political Agreement binding us with other parties is clear – no elections before all the necessary reforms have been met.

We are a long way behind and there is a lot to consider.

The way Zanu-PF is going about this is malicious,” said MDC-Tsvangirai spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora.

The MDC- Ncube faction (led by Professor Welshman Ncube) said Mugabe’s estimates on the referendum, which in turn plot his election date, are off the mark.

“We would most likely have a referendum next year and elections would fall into place earliest in June 2013,” said spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Professor John Makumbe said Mugabe would fail to force elections by March 31, just as he has failed to force the SADC facilitator to dance to his tune.

“Mugabe is against South Africa’s role in the facilitation process. Last year he was threatening that he would call for elections this year with or without a new constitution.

“This year he requested that Zuma step down as facilitator and his Zanu-PF party went all out to insult Zuma’s team. I believe elections will only be held around September 2013 when reforms are finally in place,” he said.

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