After staking his credibility and that of his party by publicly insisting elections would be held by June 29, President Robert Mugabe is facing an embarrassing situation as it has become crystal clear general elections would not be held then.
Report by Owen Gagare
Just as his word came to naught when he declared elections would be held in 2011, March 2012 and by March 31 this year, Mugabe’s bluff that elections would be held soon seems to have left him exposed to further humiliation as June 29 fast approaches.
Mugabe and Zanu PF have been repeatedly claiming polls would be held on June 29 when the five-year tenure of the president and parliament comes to an end.
While a new constitution has been signed and gazetted, there are a number of issues which still need to be done before elections. With the 30-day mandatory voter registration process starting on Monday (June 3), it is now indisputable elections cannot be held in June as the exercise will only end on July 3.
It is even becoming unlikely elections will be held in July because the new constitution requires nomination of candidates after the voter registration process and proclamation of election dates to be at least 14 days after the polls are called for, and at least 30 days before polling day.
There is also the Sadc summit coming next weekend in Mozambique. Given that Zimbabwe will hold the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly in Victoria Falls in late August, it would also be difficult to fit elections within the month of the conference.
Besides, the Electoral Act, Urban Councils Act and Rural District Councils Act need to be amended before polls.
The Electoral Act will have to be amended to make provisions for proportional representation and the election of two senators specially elected to represent persons with disabilities, among other issues.
The Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act must also be amended before the elections to remove the power of the Minister of Local Government to appoint councillors and to accommodate provincial councils.
Besides the legal requirements, Mugabe’s faction-riddled Zanu PF is apparently not ready for elections as it is struggling to finalise rules and regulations for its potentially divisive primaries.