SADC hoping for one month Zim poll delay

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is hoping for at least a months delay of the proclaimed July 31st election date, according to a senior official involved in mediating a solution to Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

Lindiwe Zulu, who is part of the South African mediation team led by President Jacob Zuma, told the Bloomberg news service over the weekend that they are hopeful that Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court will extend the poll date by a month.

Zulu was quoted as saying that SADC is “hoping the (Constitutional Court) will be sensitive to the process of the resolution of some of the tensions in the build-up to elections.”

The Court will on Thursday hear a consolidated application that is seeking to have the election date changed. The applications were last week grouped together after a number of separate cases were put before the Court. This includes the contentious one filed by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, and the counter application fielded by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube.

The Court is being asked to review its decision to order Robert Mugabe to proclaim an election date by July 31st, which the ZANU PF leader subsequently did last month. If the ConCourt remains steadfast on its decision there will be just 28 days to the election, from Thursday to July 31st.

Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya told SW Radio Africa that SADC needs to be more explicit about what it wants from Zimbabwe, arguing that the timing of elections is not as important as the reforms that need to take place. He criticised the region for previously saying it will support whatever the Constitutional Court rules, instead of focusing on the reforms needed in the country.

“It is important for the region and for SADC to pin down Zimbabwe to implement the reforms. So what matters now is not an election date. If SADC continues to insist on calling for an election date without biting, then this toothless bulldog will once again just serve to confuse Zimbabweans about their intentions,” Ruhanya said. – SW Radio Africa

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