Tsvangirai says reforms essential before next polls

MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai has said the reason his party is insisting on reforms is to ensure ‘the security of the person, the vote and that the people’s will is guaranteed before the next election is held.’


He castigated ZANU PF for the non-implementation of the 24 issues agreed in the GPA, saying they regard reforms as ceding power.

Speaking in Harare on Thursday night at the launch of a party document setting out conditions for a free poll, Tsvangirai said it was of paramount importance to have a new constitution in place before elections.

Only a few booklets were available at the launch but copies will be sent to party members, journalists, diplomats, civil society and non-governmental organisations next week. The booklet will also be printed in digital form (PDF) and distributed widely via the internet.

‘As a party, our participation in the next election will largely depend on the implementation of security, media and electoral reforms. We’ve become a laughing stock in the region where you have a government that is crafting laws that control information rather than facilitate its dissemination,’ Tsvangirai said.

The Prime Minister emphasized that he will not sit down with Mugabe to agree on a date for the polls until the conclusion of the constitution-making process and the implementation of key reforms.

‘Zimbabweans want a peaceful election and not a war. That is what the people of this country want and that is what SADC wants,’ he said.

COPACE, which is spearheading the drafting of a new charter, said the proposed new draft is nearly complete. COPAC co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora told journalists in Harare on Friday that the new draft will be adopted once the committee is satisfied that the proposals have been done according to its instructions.

’The proposals adopted by the Select Committee will form the draft new Constitution. Once this document is in place, it will be translated into vernacular languages and into braille. It will be widely publicised to give all Zimbabweans an opportunity to familiarise with its contents before it is taken to the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference,’ Mwonzora said.

Mugabe, who is yearning for an early poll, told traditional chiefs in Bulawayo on Thursday that the Principals will soon meet and put a timeline for the referendum. He warned that his party will not tolerate any delays from its GPA partners.

“If there is any dragging of the feet, the party says no. If they want to drag their feet on the constitution, there is a clause where parties can withdraw from the GPA,” he said. However he said ZANU PF will not seek to withdraw from the GPA. – SW Radio Africa News

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