Monday, June 03, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Elections can go ahead: SADC
26/05/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE conclusion of the constitutional reform process means the country can now hold fresh elections to choose a substantive government, the regional SADC grouping has said.

SADC leaders held an extra-ordinary summit to discuss Madagascar, DRC and Zimbabwe on the sidelines of the African Union general assembly in the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting the grouping’s executive secretary, Tomaz Salamao said: ‘‘The summit took note that the constitution making process has been endorsed by parliament ... it is time to put our minds as a region and support Zimbabwe to hold elections.

"Our position as Sadc is that the Constitution was concluded and the next step is the election, whether it’s held within one month, two months, three months or the next six months, it is up to those with the powers to decide.

“We are waiting to hear the ruling of the Supreme Court, and as Sadc we will be there to support . . . We are basically waiting for the announcement of the day of the election so that we move this process forward.”

Last week the Supreme Court reserved judgement in a case in which a Harare man wants President Robert Mugabe to be compelled to name an election date before the end of Parliament on June 29.

SADC intervened to facilitate the formation of the unity government after the violent 2008 elections and has helped the coalition parties negotiate various reforms and map out a so-called roadmap to new polls.
A new Constitution was one of the key reforms agreed under the coalition deal.

President Robert Mugabe signed the new charter into law last week paving the way for new polls to be held although the parties remain miles apart over the exact timing of the vote.

Mugabe wants the polls to immediately follow the end of Parliament on June 29 while the MDC parties are pushing for a delay to facilitate the implementation of further reforms.

MDC-T leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently toured the region to urge SADC to call a summit and help ensure reforms he says were agreed as part of the coalition deal are fully implemented.

It was not clear whether the Addis meeting was connected to the MDC-T leader’s diplomatic campaign which was derided and dismissed as a failure by rivals back home.

Tsvangirai cancelled travel plans to the AU summit after his wife was taken ill, officials said at the weekend.

Meanwhile SADC Troika chairperson and Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete said he did not see any reason why the elections could not go ahead.

‘‘Why not? There is progress; we are hopeful, there is progress. We have to keep our fingers crossed for the next hurdle,” he said.
“We have made progress with the referendum. It went on very well and now there are preparations for the next election.’’

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