Saturday, May 11, 2013

Zimbabwe Elections Date to be Set Next Week

Poll dates next week: President

Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:00
Michael Chideme in MUTARE
Zimbabwe Herald

DATES for this year’s harmonised elections will be decided next week after the Senate passes the Constitutional Bill on Tuesday, President Mugabe has said. The Bill sailed through the House of Assembly on Thursday with all the 156 legislators present endorsing it, exceeding the 144 statutory requirement which is two-thirds of the 210 members required to pass a Constitutional Bill.

Addressing the third Zimbabwe Local Government Conference at Queens Hall here yesterday, President Mugabe said Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa was now in charge of the election roadmap.

“So, we will see from next week what the date can be,” he said.

“We now await the decision of the Senate. Only when it is passed shall we be able to have a roadmap for elections.

“I was hoping to meet Chinamasa here in Mutare, but he did not come. He is now the person in charge. It’s no longer the Ministry of Constitutional (and Parliamentary) Affairs.”

The President reiterated that there would be no extension of the tenure of the Seventh Parliament when it expires on June 29.

He said the automatic dissolution of the House would pave way for the election of a new one.

“Parliament dies on 29 June,” he said. “MPs, all of them, would have lost their legislative power.”

MDC-T has been lobbying for a postponement of elections amid reports that the party had failed to draft a manifesto and had been unnerved by several recent surveys pointing to a Zanu-PF victory.

This — coupled with loss of confidence among MDC-T’s traditional western backers who have all been intensifying re-engagement with President Mugabe — has set party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai on edge.

The President thanked House of Assembly members for “unanimously voting affirmatively” for the Constitutional Bill on Thursday.

He said once Senate approves the Bill on Tuesday, it would be taken to lawyers for scrutiny after which it would be his turn to sign it into law.

“When it is legal law of the country whatever should be done should be a matter of the new Government,” President Mugabe said as he called for peace during the election campaign.

“As all of you should be aware, the new Constitution coincides with the time in which the country is preparing for harmonised elections,” he said.

“As in any contest, there are some whose tempers may flare and others with raging emotions, to all of them, the country’s appeal is for peace, peace, peace! Violence should not have any place nor footprint in our elections.”

President Mugabe said leaders should not impose themselves and should accept a contest.

“Let us be tolerant,” he said.

“Recognise your right to stand as candidates is also others’ right to stand as candidates. We should compete and the defeated should have humility and honesty to accept defeat,” he said.

The President had the delegates in stitches when he said in the last harmonised elections Zanu-PF only won six out of 26 seats in Manicaland and he suspected the people could have voted against Zanu-PF because he was 84-years-old and was showing wrinkles consistent with that age.

But he said when he looked at his rival MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, he was convinced it was not about facial looks.

He said if the two were to go for a beauty contest, he would come out tops.

“Zvino ndikati chitadzo chingava kupi? Tikamira papapa ndiri 84 (then) ndinotariswa nemvana dzakati kuti,” he said to laughter.
President Mugabe urged elected leaders to consult with the people and not to rush to implement projects and programmes without their input.

He cited the “mistake” that was done soon after independence when Government enacted the Legal Age of Majority Act based on world trends without the consent of community elders.

When central government proclaims policies, he said, it was the duty of local authorities as the lower tiers of the State to cascade the policies to households.

He urged the delegates from different councils to espouse the virtues of honest leadership, affordability, efficiency, reliability and sustainability.

“Local government should strive to uphold these values as it tackles such bottlenecks and key services as roads, health facilities, lighting and dependable water and sanitation systems,” President Mugabe said.

He said election into office should be a commitment to serve the people and not to live lavish lifestyles at the expense of citizens.

He said local authorities should link the central government to the people.

“Once this symbiotic relationship strikes the right notes, it answers the question of decentralisation, in respect of which all citizens are empowered to actively participate in decision making in matters of local development,” he said.

The President took a swipe at MDC-T-led councils that have departed from their service delivery mandate to pursue self-serving interests.

“I am not alone in expressing alarm at the report of appalling levels of corruption and mismanagement of public funds and properties by certain councillors and council officials,” President Mugabe said.

“As public servants, your duty is to protect such public assets as are reposed in your local authorities for the improvement of the welfare of these communities.

“Kwanga kune kuchema kuti vaChombo varikubvisa vanhu vedu. Kana kune mbavha dzaonekwa vongoregerwa vachingobira vanhu. Kana vakatipa mbavha dzoga dzoga vaChombo vongoti because President vakati be even vosiya zvakadaro?” (There was an outcry that Minister Chombo (Local Government, Rural and Urban Development) had been removing corrupt councillors. He should not turn a blind eye to thieves).

President Mugabe said in the absence of corruption, councillors from Zanu-PF and MDC should be treated equally.

“But if you give vaChombo people who think that rates and rentals should be in their pockets…they are thieves,” he said.

The conference ends today with Vice President Joice Mujuru expected to address the delegates.

Traditional leaders from Manicaland, provincial governors, Government ministers, mayors, town clerks and chief executive officers are attending the conference.

Churches in massive campaign for Zanu-PF

Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:00
Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter

The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ), one of the largest groupings of churches in Zimbabwe, yesterday launched a massive voter orientation exercise countrywide to educate Bishops from the Apostolic and Zion churches of the need to ensure their followers register to vote for Zanu-PF during the forthcoming harmonised elections.

The ACCZ has 638 members with a following over 9,5 million registered people of whom about 5 million are eligible voters.

About 400 Bishops and their spouses from all the Apostolic and Zion churches in Zimbabwe attended a conference meant to educate them on the need to register as voters to ensure an emphatic Zanu-PF victory at the forthcoming polls.

The conference that was held at the Zanu-PF headquarters and officially opened by Zanu-PF national chairperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, was held under the theme; “re-aligning the indigenous churches’ authority over national affairs in Zimbabwe.”

The Bishops were drawn from in and around Harare with other provinces represented by at least two bishops.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, ACCZ president, Archbishop Reverend, Johannes Ndanga, said the church had a role to play in shaping national affairs of all countries the world over.

“We are launching the conference for peace and voter orientation ahead of the harmonised elections. We are conscientising each other on the need for peaceful elections and the need to register. We are encouraging our bishops to register as voters first before they urge their followers to do the same.

“This is a watershed election that we should have a big say as the church because we have to remember where we came from. We have about 400 bishops and their spouses here to ensure that people like (MDC-T leader, Mr Morgan) Tsvangirai who want to steal where they did not sow do not get anything at all. We want elections as soon as possible. We don’t want the continued abuse of our leader President Mugabe who is a founding revolutionary who taught people about this independence that Tsvangirai is enjoying,” said Rev Ndanga.

Archbishop Ndanga said it was a myth that churches should be apolitical when it is the church that is supposed to bless national leadership.

Some MDC-T traditional allies among them the CNN, BBC, the New York Times, the Guardian newspaper and some research groups among them the Afro-Barometer, Mass Public Opinion, Zim Vigil, Freedom House and individuals such as National Constitutional Assembly chairman Professor Lovemore Madhuku among others have already predicted Zanu-PF victory.

Delivering his keynote address, Cde Khaya Moyo said Zanu-PF was grateful to the church for the role they played since the liberation struggle adding that without prayer, the revolutionary war may not have been won.

“As Zanu-PF we are the only party with clear policies that are people-centered. This country is not for sellouts but revolutionaries. Let’s not play with our independence and sovereignty. We are not a banana republic.

“We have clear and principled leadership in President Mugabe. He is a principled and committed revolutionary. Bishops we know you are many in terms of your followers.

Elections are coming soon. It is going to be a game of numbers. We want all the people who are committed to their country to register as voters so that Zanu-PF wins overwhelmingly. We already have one candidate whom we should all vote for who is President Mugabe,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.

For local and Parliamentary elections, he said, candidates would be determined at the primary elections reiterating that the revolutionary party would not condone candidate imposition.

“When you vote, you should know where you came from. Let’s make sure we remove these thieves from local authorities. We want clean and committed council. You should vote for Zanu-PF.

“The forthcoming elections are synonymous with the 1980 elections because the enemy is still fighting us. The Americans and the European Union are fighting to remove President Mugabe. We cannot defeat the enemy if we do not vote in our numbers. No one should just pop up and say they want to be President of this country if they don’t know where we have come from,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.

He said, the 1987 unity accord between Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu was very much alive saying no one could claim to have ended the union when they were not the ones who signed the pact.

“The unity accord of December 22, 1987 between the two parties-PF-Zapu and Zanu-PF is irreversible . . . The accord has two signatures, that of President Mugabe and the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo. It is something we must be proud of. Whoever says he is out of the accord please leave them alone because they don’t have signatures there. Please pray for such people because they know not what they are doing,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.

Zanu-PF national commissar and Media, Information and Publicity Minister, Cde Webster Shamu, Politburo member Cde Tendai Savanhu and Harare provincial chairperson Cde Amos Midzi attended the meeting.

ZEC waives voter registration requirements

Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:00
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has waived voter registration requirements for those without documentary proof of residence as the programme intensifies ahead of its end on May 19. Thirty-seven thousand people had registered to
vote as of yesterday, up from 25 000 last week.

ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau told political parties yesterday that those without documents to prove their residence would fill in an affidavit form available at registration centres as part of measures agreed upon to address concerns raised by the parties and stakeholders.

“ZEC agreed with you in this regard and as a consequence added the use of an affidavit as an additional document to prove residence.

“The affidavit is the fall-back position for all applicants and, therefore, no one citizen should be turned away for want of documentation. The affidavit will be gazetted soon, it will form part of the law of Zimbabwe.”

Justice Makarau said the affidavit form was agreed upon by ZEC and the Registrar-General of Voters Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, who attended yesterday’s meeting.

In the meeting, political parties castigated Finance Minister Tendai Biti for not adequately funding the electoral commission.

This was after Justice Makarau said although the process had been largely underfunded, it had been worthwhile.

MDC-T organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa complained about “skewed” distribution of voter registration centres.

He said some provinces had more centres than others and suggested the use of traditional polling stations as voter registration centres.

Zanu-PF secretary for security Cde Sydney Sekeramayi said it was interesting to note that the MDC-T now wanted polling stations to be used as voter registration centres, a suggestion it had initially spurned.

“It had been said let voter registration be done at polling stations and they had said no, people would be intimidated, but they now want the same thing they had rejected, they are now wiser,” he said.

Political parties complained that the voter registration period, April 29 to May 19, was too short.

Others complained that staff in the RG’s Office frustrated aspiring voters by demanding certain issues that ZEC had not mentioned.

Justice Makarau said ZEC would meet to review the effect of the process and establish if there was need to extend it.

ZEC, she said, envisaged another 30-day registration period provided for by Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 20 which should commence when the proposed Constitution takes effect. The 30-day period, she said, should cover up for time lost during the initial stage of the current voter registration.

“We do not have information that Section 6 (3) of the draft Constitution has been repealed, so we still have additional 30-day voter registration period provided for by the Draft Constitution,” she said

Turning to people who have turned up to register as voters, Justice Makarau said the figure rose to 36 785 from 24 940 within the last week, those that have transferred rose to 13 345 from 8 839, while those who have taken national identity documents rose to 55 654 from 42 882.

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