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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Crisis Report Issue 192
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (SA Regional Office)
    June 13, 2013

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    PM for Election Deadline Extension

    The Right Honorable Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai said he was taken aback by the election date ruling issued by the Constitutional Court (Con Court) adding that in order for Zimbabwe to adequately prepare for a “free, fair, credible and legitimate election” President Mugabe should approach the court for an extension.

    The PM was speaking at a Civil Society-State Interface Forum attended by almost 100 civil society leaders held at the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Head office in Harare on Wednesday, June 12. The Con Court ruled on May 31 in favor of Jealousy Mawarire who is the Director of Center for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa (CEDSA) who had filed an application against President Mugabe to proclaim an election date for the harmonized elections due in 2013 citing infringement of his rights as a registered voter in Zaka.

    Trust Maanda, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) might have correctly predicted at a CiZC debate last week that the ruling “robbed Peter to pay Paul”, warning it respected the right of an individual while it infringes on the rights of others.

    The Con Court ruling has since been challenged by CiZC Programs Manager Nixon Nyikadzino in his personal capacity among other citizens who have complained to the court that holding elections by July 31 will infringe on their constitutional rights.

    “You are aware of the recent court ruling which directed that elections must be conducted by July 31. Our only conclusion was that it was a political directive given legal effect.

    “The issue is not about the date of the election but the conditions under which those elections must be held,” the PM said.

    The PM said his concern with the ruling did not indicate a disdain of the decisions made by the judiciary but his concern arose from the fact that there were outstanding reforms that the government has been patiently laboring to implement, which needed to be concluded.

    “The laws must be aligned to the new constitution especially laws which impact on how elections are held,” Rt. Hon. Tsvangirai said.

    The PM said that the security forces must be non-partisan as pro-vided for in the new constitution adding that there was need to work on a code of conduct on how security forces should behave during elections.

    He pointed out that some members of the forces are currently electioneering on behalf of his rival party, the Zimbabwe African National Union -Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF).

    “The constitution is clear that there has to be an environment where everyone has access to the state media,” Rt. Hon. Tsvangirai said, adding that laws such as Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) had to be repealed. The PM outlined some of the reforms which are provided for in the new Constitution and that have to be carried out before elections such as voter education, voter registration, voter inspection, sitting of the nomination court and the 30 days for “electioneering”. Moreover, the PM noted that there was need to amend laws to cater for the new voting system in the local government elections. “If you calculate that, it makes July 31 impossible at law.

    “The logical escape from the tight spot is to do what we did with the by-elections,” said PM Tsvangirai.

    President Robert Mugabe failed to comply with a court order sought by three MDC legislators ordering by-elections earlier this year and was later granted relief from abiding by the High Court order after his lawyers argued that the timelines were impracticable.

    The PM said if his partner in the coalition government, President Robert Mugabe, wanted to stampede the country into an election he will not be part of that flawed election process, emphasizing that the Executive had already set up a mechanism for determining the timing of the next polls.

    The PM also revealed that the framework involved the working together of Legal and Justice Minister Hon. Patrick Chinamasa and Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Hon. Eric Matinenga, adding that the Office of the Prime Minister will assist the Office of the President in the decision as required by law.

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