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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Mugabe outwits Tsvangirai on election date
Moyo, Mail and Guardian (SA)
June 07, 2013
president is overjoyed by a court ruling against him because he
can now hold early elections.
Mugabe lost a case in court last week, and he is loving it. Just
a week earlier, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had the upper hand
after scoring what looked like a rare win on the diplomatic front,
having convinced the region to hold a special meeting
on Zimbabwe's elections.
But this week,
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was yet again scrambling
for a response to what, at least on the surface, appears to be yet
another display of Mugabe's mastery of the dark arts of politics.
While the MDC
was travelling abroad seeking international support to halt Mugabe's
campaign for early elections, a court appeal many had ignored was
forming part of what looks like a clever play by Mugabe to outflank
a former journalist who runs an election observer group, won
a case he brought against Mugabe in the Constitutional Court, forcing
to hold elections by July 31.
The ruling draws
a very tight deadline, throwing hopes of reform into doubt and leaving
the MDC once again on the back foot.
changes the dynamics for the Southern African Development Community
are now going to be cleaner people'
The MDC had
hoped the group would endorse its plea for a delay on elections
to allow crucial reforms, but none of the leaders are likely to
want to appear to be going against a court ruling in a member country.
had a barely hidden scornful tone about it; he said he had shredded
court orders in the past, but it was now time to obey the rule of
court is fair to make judgment on defaulters and we have been criminals
on this one. So, there it is, we are now going to be cleaner people
and get exonerated and say let bygones be bygones, the future will
see us clean," he said.
love a good conspiracy, and it was not long before there was a suggestion
that Mugabe's hand had been behind Mawarire's application. There
may be no proof of that, but Mugabe certainly made sure his legal
team played ball, according to some legal observers.
the president's 'opposing' paper, rather than disputing the applicant's
case, wholeheartedly agreed with his argument," says
Derek Matyszak, senior researcher at the Research
and Advocacy Unit.
mourn his "loss" in court, "and be remorseful at
having been reprimanded by the court for his failure to uphold the
Constitution, Mugabe continued the chastisement by ecstatically
engaging in a bit of purging self-flagellation" by thanking
the courts for looking past violations and at least giving the government
some time, said Matyszak.
Mugabe is preparing
to use the court ruling as a big stick, both against critics at
home and against the SADC. Now, anyone who seeks a delay will be
accused of going against the rule of law. His own lawyer, Terrence
Hussein, who headed Mugabe's legal team in the court case, appeared
to suggest as much this week.
court has made a determination. The only way to overturn that decision
is by having an Act of Parliament nullifying that decision. No other
authority, even SADC, can do anything about it."
The MDC was
clearly shocked by the ruling, initially releasing a statement criticising
the court for having "overstepped its mandate", before
calming down and saying reforms could still be rushed through.
use this judgment to justify our push for reforms. All we want is
SADC to help Zimbabwe abide by its Constitution," party spokesperson
Douglas Mwonzora said.
less prepared for elections than the MDC, but if the way the party
celebrated the court ruling is anything to go by, it is obviously
on to something.
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