Thursday, May 19, 2011

No to Poll Delays: President Mugabe of Zimbabwe Says

No to poll delays: President

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 22:09

PRESIDENT Mugabe spoke to journalists from The Herald and Southern Times at State House in Harare yesterday

Herald Reporter

PROCESSES leading to the holding of fresh elections should not be delayed any further than is necessary and if the timelines agreed between parties to the Global Political Agreement fit into 2011, elections should be held before the end of the year, President Mugabe has said.

The President, who was speaking during an interview with the Southern Times, which will be published in full tomorrow, said at inception the GPA and inclusive Government were not supposed to last more than two years and elections were only delayed because the MDC formations rejected the Kariba Draft.

‘‘We lenghtened the life of the GPA by rejecting the draft constitution that we had, the Kariba Draft and that was what was to be the basis of the election as envisaged in the GPA earlier on.''

Turning to concerns by some parties to the GPA that it is not possible to hold elections this year, the President said he was not aware of any impediments.

‘‘I don't see what would delay us. We have been to the peo-ple; the people have given us their views.

"We are now in possession of the views of the people in regard to the themes that should constitute the basis of a new constitution and we work on these and we should be having the constitution in draft form very soon.

‘‘July/August if we have that draft constitution then be put to a referendum.

"Once you have gone to the people and asked their views, and if they support that constitution why should we wait any further . . . then we proceed to hold elections because that is the mission of the GPA.''

The President said the new constitution, which some parties are using to delay the polls, was never part of the GPA in the beginning and only came about after the GPA though Zanu-PF agreed to it.

‘‘As we discussed the GPA, we never had the new constitution of the nature that we now are working on, no. This became a new development after the GPA and we accepted it.

‘‘We should not delay the process any further than is necessary. We have now said to ourselves let's establish timelines . . . and then we see whether the timelines required cannot all be fitted into 2011. If they can be fitted into 2011 then we go ahead,'' the President said.

Turning to claims by MDC-T that the environment is not conducive for the holding of free and fair elections because of alleged state-sanctioned violence, the President said it was in the nature of MDC-T to play victim even where they had no cause to do so.

The Government, he said, had asked for evidence of the alleged state-sanctioned violence but none had been forthcoming.

Zanu-PF has been calling for elections later this year while the two MDC formations have been dithering, claiming that the environment was not conducive for holding new elections.

The GPA, that paved way for the inclusive Government, was drafted to foster an environment of socio-economic stability in readiness for fresh elections, which environment, observers say, has now been secured.

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