22 October 2014
   
New Zimbabwe Header
Mnangagwa in Harare car crash
Students blast UZ kissing ban
Mpofu’s newspaper faces collapse
Rogue cop extorts $5,000 from doctor
Man axed to death over boss' daughter
Tsvangirai visits Moyo after accident
Back or sack Mujuru, Makoni dares Bob
Doctors to down tools over pay
MORE NEWS
Egyptair to resume Zimbabwe service
Buy Zimbabwe week set for Bulawayo
MORE BUSINESS
Pistorius sentencing: What it means
Argentina demands BBC Top Gear apology
MORE SHOWBIZ
Chiredzi coach slapped with hefty fine
Maiden cup final thrills City’s Dinyero
MORE SPORTS
Makanaka: Mazara ignorance and an apology
Ebola scourge: Wake up call for Africa
MORE OPINION
 
Libya: The tragedy of western intervention
Ministers: Technical competence or political value
MORE COLUMNISTS
 
 
Mugabe threatens to dicth new constitution, call elections
08/12/2012 00:00:00
by Agencies
 
Threat to ditch new constitution ... President Robert Mugabe
 
RELATED STORIES
Madhuku backs Mugabe election call
SADC insists on reforms before polls
Mugabe promises wounded beast fight
SADC calls summit over Zim, DRC
Zimbabwe ‘headed for second GNU’
Biti set for Manchester GNU review
MDC-T steered Zim from brink: Tsvangirai
Jobs dominate 2013 election fight
MDC-T plan 'will create $100bn economy'
Dead people to stay on voters' roll: ZEC
Zuma team arrives for GPA talks
Rights groups sound new violence claims
Tsvangirai betrayed 2008 poll pact: Ncube
Ncube rallies youth vote for polls
Call for SADC, AU intervention
December primaries for MDC-T

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe threatened on Friday to call an election before the completion of constitutional reforms if his rivals in a power-sharing government dragged their feet over the charter-drafting process.

Addressing an annual conference of his Zanu PF party, Mugabe also said he would press ahead with a drive to force foreign-owned firms including mines and banks to sell majority shares to locals.

Mugabe, 88, one of Africa's longest serving rulers has called for an election in March next year.

But coalition partners including Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's old rival, first want a new constitution and electoral and media reforms after a violent and disputed poll in 2008 that was condemned by much of the world.

Mugabe told party members he would not wait forever to call elections, putting pressure on Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"If they do not (agree), I am going to declare sooner or later the day of an election," he said, to applause. "Enough is enough. We cannot continue to drag our feet on this."

However Finance Minister Tendai Biti, secretary general of the MDC, told Reuters that Zimbabwe would not be ready for a presidential election until at least June because it needed the reforms to ensure a fair and undisputed poll.

"It's impossible to have an election in March," he said during a visit to Manchester, England, on Thursday. He said the new constitution and reforms were needed first to ensure the poll result was "credible, legitimate and sustainable".

Zanu PF has since endorsed Mugabe as its presidential candidate in elections which must be held by next September, under a power-sharing deal agreed after the 2008 poll, despite his advanced age, reported ill health and disastrous economic record.

Zanu PF and the MDC are haggling over presidential powers in the new constitution. Mugabe accused his opponents of delaying tactics to avoid elections.

"Others are afraid to bring the exercise (Constitution making) to an end because they know that it will bury them forever," he said.

He also demanded that the party must strengthen its party structures across the country ahead of the elections.

"This conference must take a definite stand, no dilly-dallying and enough is enough. The party must be strengthened. We are going to go for elections," he said.



Advertisement

Mugabe has run the country since independence in 1980 but is facing increasing questions about his health.

He has travelled to Singapore several times in the last two years for medical treatment. In April his aides angrily denied reports he was fighting for his life in a Singapore hospital.

But the veteran leader showed no visible signs of ill-health on Friday, spending more than an hour at the podium in front of 5,000 delegates inside a new Chinese-built conference centre outside the central city of Gweru.

He told supporters that black local ownership rules for foreign investors applied across the board.

"Even our Chinese friends, we are saying to them: 'In your country we do not just come'. They have to respect the rules here," he said.

Analysts say Mugabe's March election call is meant to keep his supporters ready for battle although some senior Zanu PF officials have cast doubt on this timeline, given that a referendum on a new constitution should also precede any election, under the power-sharing deal.

A referendum on the new charter, which has been delayed by two years, is only likely in the first quarter of next year.
 


 
Email this to a friend Printable Version Discuss This Story
Share this article:

Digg it

Del.icio.us

Reddit

Newsvine

Nowpublic

Stumbleupon

Face Book

Myspace

Fark
 
 
 
comments powered by Disqus
 
RSS NewsTicker