HARARE (Zimbabwe Investor) – President Robert Mugabe has declared 31 July as the date of holding Zimbabwe’s general elections, in a move which flies in the face of his inclusive government partners and the regional bloc SADC which was scheduled to meet on Saturday to discuss the country.
Mugabe used the Presidential Temporary Powers to amend the electoral act and declare the date for holding polls. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who is the president of the larger faction of the MDC had insisted that Mugabe had no powers to unilaterally declare the date.
“As prime minister I will definitely use my office, as the court judgment say that I must, to influence President Mugabe to observe the constitution. He cannot set a date of an election without my concurrence,” Tsvangirai told civil society leaders on Wednesday.
“I will not give legitimacy to that election date unless we agree and in order to agree there is a process we had already initiated.”
Following the publishing of the Government Gazette proclaiming the poll date, Tsvangirai held a press conference in Harare where he vowed not to accept Mugabe’s declaration as he was not consulted.
“There are reforms that need to be carried out. This proclamation means Zimbabwe is headed for another ‘June 27′”, said Tsvangirai.
‘June 27’ is used to refer to the period between 2008’s harmonised elections in March and the date for the presidential run-off election on the 27th of June that year. The country experienced widespread political violence which forced Tsvangirai to withdraw from the race. The result was a SADC brokered inclusive government after lengthy protracted negotiations.
MUGABE’S LETTER TO TSVANGIRAI ON 31 JULY POLL PROCLAMATION