The party threw down the gauntlet to ZANU PF on Wednesday following a meeting of its National Executive in Harare. It follows several accusations by Robert Mugabe’s party that they were scared of an election.
Mugabe has said he will definitely call elections this year and described as ‘cowards’ politicians who say polls cannot be held until 2013. In an interview with state media on the eve of his 88th birthday two weeks ago, the ZANU PF candidate for the next presidential poll dismissed objections to early polls.
‘That is what cowards say. Elections can happen at any time … Definitely, yes this year,’ he said.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party has always insisted polling cannot go ahead until constitutional reforms are complete while civil society and rights groups have warned of an imminent surge of election violence.
Douglas Mwonzora, the party spokesman, told SW Radio Africa that the ball is now in ZANU PF’s court if they want elections this year.
‘We are ready for elections, and yes theoretically they can be held this year, so we don’t want to be caught flat footed. We have to prepare our structures and if we can’t have the poll this year then definitely March next year, we will be going for an election and it is always ideal to have 12 months to prepare,’ Mwonzora added.
SW Radio Africa is reliably informed principals to the GPA are mulling calling for an election in the last quarter of 2012 because of the dysfunctional state of the inclusive government.
A new draft constitution has now been completed and the principals are expected to receive this, together with a report from the Parliamentary Select Committee spearheading the process.
A source told us once they have the timelines of when a referendum can be held, the principals will work on an election date.
There are reports South African President Jacob Zuma, who is also the SADC mediator on Zimbabwe, is expected in Harare sometime next week for talks on an election road map and other GPA issues.
‘The only thing that has been delaying Zuma coming to Harare has been the delay to come up with a draft constitution. I’ll not be off the mark if I say by the time Zuma flies into Harare, the principals would have a rough idea of timelines leading to a referendum and eventual elections.
‘Zuma is coming to look at the roadmap, and if all sides agree to it, he will take it to SADC and present it to fellow regional leaders,’ our source said.
The MDC however has stressed that before any election can be held pro-Mugabe security forces must be reformed, state spies weeded out of the electoral body, media reforms are completed and a new democratic constitution is written and adopted.
How Zuma can pressure ZANU PF to do any of this, remains to be seen. SW Radio AfricaPost published in: News