MDCs reject Mugabe early polls push

THE two MDC formations have rejected President Robert Mugabe’s plot to railroad the nation into elections in March next year, saying the polls were only feasible by September.

Report by Staff Writer

The two parties told the South African parliamentary portfolio committee on international relations in Cape Town last week moves by Mugabe to push for early polls would be resisted.

South African President Jacob Zuma is the mediator to the Zimbabwean political logjam and his facilitation team has been battling to unlock the crisis with scant results.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora and MDC director for policy research Qhubani Moyo told the South African legislators Zimbabwe was not ready for polls in March due to a raft of outstanding reforms, including completion of a draft constitution.

Zanu PF was invited but snubbed the indaba which was also attended by civil society representatives, among them Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights executive director Irene Petras, Zimbabwe Election Support Network national director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava and political analyst Professor Brian Raftopoulos.

Mwonzora and Moyo said their parties demanded a clearly defined roadmap with signposts guaranteeing free and fair elections by September. Moyo said Mugabe wanted to hijack a parliamentary process to write a new constitution using his imperial powers in a frantic bid to restore his sweeping powers as enshrined in the current Lancaster House constitution but whittled down in the draft constitution.

“We told the South African parliament how Mugabe and an impostor (Deputy Prime Minister Arthur) called Mutambara are planning to wrestle a people-driven process to suit their political agendas. The constitution-making process was driven by parliament and should be concluded by Copac and not a dubious forum called principals,” said Moyo.

The MDCs believe security sector reforms are urgent as security forces chiefs have brazenly violated the constitution and Defence Act by “declaring a coup even before elections”.

Military chefs have repeatedly warned they would not allow anyone except Mugabe to rule Zimbabwe.

The parties say ample time is needed after the referendum to create new institutions provided for by the new constitution and that would require more than six months before polls, thereby ruling out Mugabe’s March 31 date. The referendum is only expected in the first quarter of next year.

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