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statement on Mugabe's election date announcement
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
June 13, 2013
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in the morning, I received a letter
from President Mugabe dated 13 June 2013, in which he advised
that in purported compliance with the Constitutional
Court judgment, he was proclaiming the 28th of June 2013 as
the sitting of the nomination court and the 31st July as the Election
Day. As the Rt Hon. Prime Minister of this country and a key member
of the coalition government, mere courtesy would have required prior
discussions on this matter. However, this is a matter governed by
In terms of
we signed on 15 September 2008, which has been codified as the 8th
schedule of the current Constitution
of Zimbabwe, the President can only act in consultation with
the Prime Minister in respect to any executive decisions including
the announcement of the date of the election. Thus, President Mugabe’s
actions are a unilateral and flagrant breach of our Constitution
and the GPA. I, as PM, cannot and will not accept this. Moreover,
part 3 of the 6th schedule of our Constitution makes it clear that
there shall be an intense 30-day
voter registration exercise. Only on Tuesday in Cabinet all
political parties agreed that this process had commenced on 10 June
2013 and would be completed on 9 July 2013.
The net effect of the
proclamation is therefore to infringe on the Constitutional provisions
obliging the 30-day intense voter registration exercise. It will
also mean that President Mugabe is disenfranchising many people
who were registering to vote, for instance aliens and first time
voters. President Mugabe is also denying political parties and Zimbabweans
the opportunity to inspect the voters roll.
In any event,
section 26 A of our Electoral
Act Cap 2:13 makes it clear that voter registration for everyone
closes 24 hrs before the sitting of the Nomination Court. This means
that voter registration will now close on the 27th of June 2013
instead of the 9th of July 2013. A clear, flagrant and fraudulent
breach of our Constitution.
The new Constitution
also makes it clear in section 8 of the sixth schedule that the
forthcoming election must be conducted in “terms of the electoral
law in conformity with this Constitution.”
That new electoral
law according to section 157 ought to provide among other things
for new issues such as proportional representation for the election
of Senators and the new two disabled Senators and members of the
newly introduced provincial councils. As has been widely reported
Cabinet only agreed to the proposed electoral law on Tuesday.
in calling for an election when the electoral law has not been passed
in Parliament is clearly acting unconstitutionally.
He is fully
aware of this, hence the claim in his letter that he is using
powers under the Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures) Act. Ladies and gentlemen, the Presidential
Powers Act, which in the past allowed the President to make laws
on his own without Parliament is patently not in compliance with
the new Constitution. For the avoidance of doubt, section 134A of
the new Constitution makes it clear that only Parliament has the
power to make primary legislation and that its powers of making
law cannot be delegated to anyone, including the President.
In any event,
what is the material urgency when Parliament is still sitting until
29th of June 2013? Once it is accepted, as Cabinet accepted on Tuesday,
that the intensive voter registration made obligatory by our Constitution
began on 10 June to finish on 9 July, then the earliest date that
the proclamation would have been on the 10th of July 2013. Our law
makes it clear that the nomination court can only sit between 14
and 21 days of the proclamation. This means that the earliest date
that the nomination court would sit would have been the 24th of
July 2013. Our Constitution as well provides for a minimum 30-day
period of campaigning to a maximum of 42 days before the election
date. This means that after the nomination court sitting of the
24th July 2013, the earliest that the election could be held is
the 25th August 2013.
The point being made
is that President Mugabe has acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally
and is deliberately creating and precipitating an unnecessary Constitutional
crisis. The Constitution makes the President the chief upholder
and defender of the Constitution. It is therefore regrettable that
the chief defender and upholder has become the chief attacker and
abuser of the Constitution. Surely, the defender-in-chief cannot
become the attacker-in-chief!
Zimbabwe have never been about the date but the process and conditions
under which it is held. The people of Zimbabwe have always insisted
on the date of elections being determined by the processes that
have to be carried out to ensure a legitimate, credible and sustainable
election. This call has also been reiterated in numerous resolutions
of SADC since the Dar
es Salaam summit 29 March 2007. Only as recent as 1 June 2012,
SADC at its summit
in Luanda, resolved that Zimbabwe was obliged to attend to reforms
for a year to the 30th of June 2013. Once those reforms were complete,
the President and the Prime Minister would agree on a date for elections.
You will also be aware
that the three political parties signatory to the GPA have been
involved in intense processes and negotiation under the facilitation
of President Zuma. In these discussions, many issues have been agreed
to although not implemented.
Agreement was reached
on a ROADMAP and on 24 post-Maputo issues. All documents and agreements
were handed over to President Zuma in June 2010.
Ladies and gentlemen,
there are fundamental reforms to be carried out, which are currently
the subject of negotiations between the parties now. These include:
- Media reforms
- Security sector realignment
- Alignment of our laws to the new Constitution
- Electoral reform including the issue of the voters roll
On the voters roll alone,
as late as Thursday 6th June 2013, the party negotiators agreed
and restated that
the voters roll process would be as follows:
(1) A 30-day period of
voter registration (10 June-9July) followed by:
(2) The voters roll preparation period (to be defined by ZEC) followed
(3) The voters roll inspection period (to be defined by ZEC) followed
(4) The final voters roll preparation (period to be defined by ZEC)
(5) The signing off of an agreed voters roll by the political parties.
the unilateral proclamation made today is a deliberate attempt to
stall the reform agenda in Zimbabwe. Without reforms, Zimbabwe is
yet again heading to another contested, predatory and illegitimate
election. In short, another
June 27. As Morgan Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe
and the President of the MDC, I will not accept a situation where
Zimbabweans will yet again be railroaded and frog-marched to another
illegitimate and violent election.
The people of Zimbabwe
are suffering. Businesses are shutting down, workers are under attack
and the economy has frozen. A fraudulent and illegitimate election
will deepen the crisis and will not reverse this malaise.
Ladies and gentlemen,
all of you are aware that SADC and the AU are the guarantors and
curators of the Zimbabwean crisis. For six years they have selflessly
and with great dedication and commitment, they have chaperoned and
shepherded the Zimbabwean crisis. The GPA and the modicum of stability
we have enjoyed for the past five years are due to the tireless
efforts of our African brothers and sisters, including President
Zuma and his facilitation team.
The net effect of President
Mugabe’s unilateral and illegal proclamation is an unmitigated
frontal and rear attack on SADC, the AU and President Zuma and his
President Mugabe and
his team cannot hide behind the concept of sovereignty that they
long ago surrendered and mortgaged through the misgovernance and
State failure that led SADC to engage in our affairs as way back
They can also not hide
behind a Constitutional Court judgement which all Zimbabweans agree
is clearly practically and legally unenforceable.
It is also disturbing
to note that it was President Mugabe himself who caused SADC to
postpone the summit that was supposed to be held on Sunday the 9th
of June 2013. It is now clear that President Mugabe called for the
postponement in order to go to SADC with a done deal of an election
Thus clearly, President
Mugabe has sought to render the forthcoming SADC summit a dead rubber
and a talk show. This is clearly dishonest and disrespectful of
the esteemed leaders of SADC, the AU, President Zuma and our brothers
and sisters on the African continent.
I have clearly reflected
on the matter and this morning, to defend the Constitution, I instructed
my attorneys to file an urgent court application. In addition, I
will be leaving tomorrow for SADC and will fully brief the regional
leaders on the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Finally, I appeal to
fellow Zimbabwean to remain calm but vigilant in the face of this
provocation and illegality. History has taught us that evil never
triumphs and the way of truth will always triumph. As Morgan Tsvangirai,
I call upon Zimbabweans to walk with me and stand by me in this
patriotic fight to defend the truth and the Constitution.
After all is said and
done, I am certain that one day and very soon, Zimbabweans will
have a government of their choice where they are free to pursue
happiness and their dreams and aspirations.
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