Tsvangirai challenges Mugabe election date
HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube have dismissed President Robert Mugabe’s threats to unilaterally announce election dates this week saying it is impossible to do so under the current laws.
Mugabe announced in Mutare on Friday that he was likely to announce election dates this week once the Senate approves the new constitution as expected.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said as far as the premier was concerned, it would be null and void if Mugabe were to attempt to go it alone constitution as expected.
“No one GNU principal or party has power or latitude to unilaterally announce the date for the election. It is senseless to say the least. It is senseless because the principals will have a collective position, there is no way Mugabe can go somewhere else and pronounce unilaterally a position,” he said.
Tamborinyoka said people should ignore Mugabe’s statement and remain calm.
“It is part of our society for old people to be senile. It’s a condition that comes at old age and its acceptable but his pronunciation has no bearing to what is going to happen,” he said.
Tamborinyoka said Mugabe lost elections in 2008 and was president courtesy of the negotiated Global Political Agreement (GPA). “He cannot wake up one morning and say to hell with the GPA which made him president, despite him having lesser votes than those of Tsvangirai,” said the PM spokesperson.
“He can pronounce an election date but it does not mean anything; the people of Zimbabwe should remain calm.”
MDC leader, Welshman Ncube said the constitution would stop Mugabe from announcing election dates this week.
“If he gazettes the constitution next [this] week, by law he must wait as that same constitution prohibits him from declaring the election date until there has been 30 days of voter registration,” he said.
“Whether Mugabe likes it or not, if he is going to obey the laws of Zimbabwe he cannot call an election before the middle of August unless he wants to do it unlawfully. I have no doubt in my mind that he is not going to call an unlawful election, therefore the earliest we are going to have an election is middle of August.”
Ncube, a constitutional law expert, added that if Mugabe wanted to proclaim a date before June 29, the prime minister must agree to that in terms of the current constitution.
“We know that the PM won’t agree and therefore the earliest that Mugabe can unilaterally pronounce an election on his own will be on the first of July,” he said.
But Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, said Mugabe would go ahead and pronounce the election dates this week.
“Don’t worry yourself with that, wait and see what will happen after the constitutional bill has been passed. They said they were not going to pass the amendment bill but they did,” he said.
Mugabe has been threatening to unilaterally call elections since last year. The MDCs supported by Sadc have been resisting Mugabe’s attempts. However, this year elections are inevitable, as the life of the current Parliament ends on June 29. Zimbabwe Standard