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17/05/2012 00:00:00
by Lebo Nkatazo
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SA insists on reforms before elections

THE coalition government cannot remain in office beyond March 2013, but at least seven key political reforms must be implemented before elections for a new administration can be held, deputy premier Arthur Mutambara has said.

Speaking during a Parliamentary Question and Answer session Wednesday, Mutambara said the coalition government cannot legally remain in office beyond March next year.

“In March 2013 this Parliament expires; in March 2013 Mugabe’s presidency expires. Consequently, this current Cabinet expires in March 2013,” he said.

“So, if you ask me about the ultimate deadline, the ultimate deadline is March 2013. However, in-between the timing of our elections is a function of processes.

“If you are to ask my own view, I would say we need to spend time carrying out these reforms and not bickering, so that come election time, we are able to say the people have spoken.

“All of us can then embrace and endorse the outcome of those elections.  However, all this must be done with an understanding that success or failure, we cannot possibly go beyond March 2013.  March 2013 is the end of the road.”

Mutambara insisted though that several key political reforms need to be completed to ensure the election outcome is not disputed and the country ends up with another negotiated settlement as happened after the inconclusive 2008 ballot.

“The discourse in the country should be about the processes and those processes must be done well. Musakanganwe chezuro ngehope. The reason why we are in an Inclusive Government is because our elections were problematic, they were inconclusive,” Mutambara said.

“For us to do that we must go through these reforms very carefully; the Constitution, media reforms, political reforms, electoral reforms, national healing, and security sector alignment, economic reforms.

“This means seven types of reforms.  These reforms require time and that time will determine when our elections will take place.”

Mutambara’s time frame is in line with a recent suggestion by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangira that a viable election was only feasible at the beginning of next year.

The MDC formations are pushing for the implementation of reforms they claim were agreed as part of their coalition deal with President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.


But they face stiff opposition from Mugabe who insists new elections must be held this year and has threatened to name date for the ballot even before ongoing constitutional reforms are completed.

Following a meeting of its politburo Wednesday, Zanu PF again declared: “Elections will be held this year and our candidate will be President Mugabe … the politburo also wants the issue (of the constitution) completely resolved by the end of this month (so that elections can go ahead).”

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