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supports elections in 2008
Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa
January 18, 2007
Election Support Network has added its voice to the controversial
debate on the harmonisation of elections in Zimbabwe. The electoral
body said the constitutional mandate should be respected and presidential
elections should be held next year as scheduled. Last month the
ruling ZANU PF party announced plans to move presidential elections
from 2008 to 2010, so they can be held simultaneously with parliamentary
was an outcry from opposition and civic groups who see this as a
ploy to extend Robert Mugabe’s term in office.
Dr Reginald Matchaba Hove told SW Radio Africa that in principle
there is nothing wrong with harmonisation, but his organisation
is opposed to any ‘harmonisation’ that would see the delaying of
presidential elections. He said: "Our view was that there should
be harmonisation that should be done in 2008. Extending the presidential
term without going through an electoral process, deprives the people
of Zimbabwe from giving their leaders a fresh mandate."
there is general consensus that elections should be held at the
same time but there are major differences on when they should be
held. Some analysts agree that the polls should be combined but
say they should be extended from 2008 to 2010, not only to give
people time to prepare but that the harmonisation process needs
to be accompanied by serious reforms.
electoral process has been a major complaint for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, since the parliamentary election
in 2000 and subsequent elections thereafter. Experts have in the
past called for fundamental changes to the electoral system to bring
about a more equitable and level playing field. But they say this
is being hampered by a clear lack of political will from the Mugabe
When asked if there is enough time to hold the elections next year
Dr Matchaba Hobe responded by saying this is something that all
stakeholders should be agitating for. He said: "It is important
that pressure be brought to bear on all forces, that the people
of Zimbabwe would want to see a new constitution and a level playing
field that would allow for competition that is free and fair in
it will be holding a series of public awareness meetings so that
people are aware of what is at stake.
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