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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
sets conditions for polls
The Standard (Zimbabwe)
June 02, 2013
Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change will insist
on the full implementation of the agreed reforms before
elections are held in accordance with a Constitutional Court
The MDC-T national standing
committee held an emergency meeting yesterday and resolved that
there were serious misgivings on some of the aspects of the judgement.
“The party reiterated
that the date of the election must be process driven. In other words,
it must be dependent upon the completion of key processes that have
a bearing on the freeness and fairness of the election,” said
party spokesperson Mwonzora.
include the completion of the ward-based, transparent and accessible
voter registration exercise targeting all communities. After the
voter registration exercise, there must be a period set for the
inspection of the voters roll to make sure that it is correct and
that all eligible voters are on it.”
He said the
MDC-T would also insist that media reforms which should guarantee
reasonably equal and fair access by all contesting parties to the
state media as enshrined in the new Constitution,
must be completed before the election to ensure that there is an
even playing field during the elections.
Mwonzora however said
the MDC-T would abide by the Constitutional Court ruling directing
elections to be held by July 31 of this year.
“For the avoidance
of any doubt, the MDC is ready for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
That means for the MDC, the issue is not about the date of the elections,
is about the conditions under which these elections are held,”
Zanu PF national chairman
Simon Khaya-Moyo said his party welcomed the ruling and urged the
nation to prepare for elections.
Mwonzora said the Constitutional
Court ruling did not absolve President Robert Mugabe from completing
the key processes that have a bearing on the freeness and fairness
of the election. He said Zimbabwe has been plagued by state-sponsored
violence in past elections.
“To that end, reforms
to ensure the total eradication of all forms of state-sponsored
violence must be completed first,” he said.
Mwonzora said although
Chapter 11 of the new Constitution provided for security sector
reform by stipulating that members of security services must not
act in a partisan manner, a code of conduct must be drafted to govern
their behaviour during the elections.
He said it was
critical that Zimbabwe completes all legislative reforms to bring
all legislation which have a bearing on elections into conformity
with the Constitution. These include the Electoral
Act, the Public
Order and Security Act, the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Tsvangirai on Friday
accused the Constitutional Court of overstepping its mandate saying
it had no power to set an election date.
“In the true spirit
of separation of powers, an election date remains a political process
in which the executive has a role to play,” he said.
African Political Series (Sapes) executive director, Dr Ibbo
Mandaza said his organisation would on Tuesday host some of the
best constitutional lawyers in the country for a discussion on the
full implication of the court ruling.
According to legal experts,
Schedule Six of the new Constitution stipulates that at least 30
days are required for an intensive voter registration and voters
roll inspection. The exercise is set to begin tomorrow ending beginning
Section 157 (3) of the
Constitution also stipulates that the nomination of candidates should
take place 14 days after the publication of the proclamation for
elections, with polling taking place at least 30 days after the
Mugabe still had four
months to call for election: Law expert
Constitutional law expert,
Professor Greg Lennington said he was astounded by the ruling.
He said in terms of the
Constitution, after the expiry of Parliament, the President has
four months to call for elections.
“I have not yet
seen the reasons for the judgement, but the correct decision was
that of the two dissenting judges, Justices Bharat Patel and Luke
Malaba,” he said.
Seven of the nine judges
who sat as a Constitutional Court concurred with the ruling. The
seven who ruled in favour of the application brought by a Harare
man, Jealousy Mawarire are: Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and
Justices Vernanda Ziyambi, Paddington Garwe, Ann-Mary Gowora, Ben
Hlatshwayo, George Chiweshe and Antonia Guvava. The two dissenting
opinions were by deputy Chief Justice Malaba and Justice Patel.
Mawarire, a registered
voter in Zaka and of the Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern
Africa, had approached the Constitutional Court to compel Mugabe
to fix the election dates in view of the fact that the life of the
current 7th Parliament ends on July 31.
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