NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chair, Lovemore Madhuku, has said elections must be held without a new constitution, backing a threat by President Robert Mugabe to ditch the stalled constitutional reform process.
Mugabe recently told supporters in Gweru that he may be forced to dissolve Parliament and call new polls, accusing his MDC rivals of deliberately blocking the constitutional reform process in order to delay the elections.
The draft charter is expected to be put to a referendum and lead to the new polls which Mugabe says will be held in March next year.
But Madhuku, whose NCA has vowed to campaign for a ‘No’ vote during the referendum, told journalists attending an election reporting workshop in Kadoma Thursday that elections must be held without the new constitution.
“There is no need for the NCA to keep on talking of Vote NO for the referendum because there is no referendum to talk about,” he said.
“As NCA we are now saying that elections must be held without the constitution and deal with the issue later, whoever wins the elections.
“There is no referendum to talk about because of what is happening. What we are likely to see is a mock referendum after parties have done the usual negotiations.”
Mugabe told supporters at a party conference in Gweru that he would name an election date if the constitutional reforms remain deadlocked.
Meanwhile, Madhuku also hit out at MDC-T secretary general and Finance Minister Tendai Biti, accusing him of misleading non-resident Zimbabweans into believing the draft constitution provides for a Diaspora vote.
GPA parties agreed to scrap provisions for the millions of Zimbabweans living outside the country to vote citing logistical challenges.
But Madhuku claimed Biti has continued to make misleading statements over the issue.
“There are some lawyers who think that they are the ones who know,” Madhuku said.
“Tendai Biti (has been lying) to the nation about the Diaspora vote; he even writes rubbish in the independent media lying to the people.
“Biti forgets that even after he joined the (coalition) government three years ago there are lawyers who have been produced in the country who now know that what he is saying is not correct.”
Initially pushed by the MDC formations, the provision for a Diaspora vote was dropped after spirited opposition from Zanu PF.
Zanu PF negotiator and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the logistical challenges made a Diaspora vote impossible, adding that sanctions imposed by the West also blocked his party from campaigning in countries such as Australia, the UK and the US.