Mugabe to extend term
Official sources said a ruling-party clique close to Mugabe was mulling the issue which could be part of Zanu PF’s legislative agenda during the course of the new parliament.
If Zanu PF manages to railroad this initiative through, it means the 2008 presidential poll would be moved to 2010.
Mugabe said after the recent hotly disputed election results he would favour having the two main elections held simultaneously. He said his party would initiate constitutional amendments to reintroduce the senate among other changes.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said his party would pursue its legislative programme as soon as possible. He said changes were coming but referred queries to Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, who declined to comment on the latest proposal.
Mutasa said the idea of concurrent elections could be one of the issues considered. Asked how it would be done, he said Mugabe’s term could be extended by two years.
“The easiest way of doing it would be to delay the presidential election until 2010,” he said. “If we hold the parliamentary election early in 2008 that would be costly.”
A column in the state-controlled Herald, The Other Side by “Nathaniel Manheru”, believed to be written by Mugabe’s press secretary, George Charamba, hinted at the issue on Saturday.
“Zanu PF now wields the democratic wherewithal to write the rules and call the tune of governance for the next five years,” Manheru said. “The ruling party seems clear on the legislative agenda which no doubt will consolidate its electoral grip in anticipation of both the presidential poll three years hence, and of course the parliamentary one in a remote 2010.
“That of course assumes there will still be a presidential poll in 2008,” Manheru continued, “and the MDC can only hope and pray Zanu PF suffers a giant seizure of political silliness to countenance it in 2008.”
Zanu PF is also planning to amend the constitution — already amended 17 times — to scrap the Electoral Supervisory Commission and replace it with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), mandated to conduct all elections and referendums.
It failed during the last parliament to make ZEC, now under attack for bungling the running of the recent poll, a constitutional body because it did not have a two-thirds majority.
Meanwhile, sources said Zanu PF’s central committee on Sunday decided to amend the constitution to make Harare and Bulawayo administrative provinces. This would bring the number of provinces officially to 10.
However, there was
an embarrassing episode on Tuesday when the two Harare and Bulawayo
resident ministers, David Karimanzira and Cain Mathema, respectively,
pitched up at Parliament Building hoping to be sworn in as MPs, only
to be told they were “strangers in the House”. The two had
to leave the function with red faces - Zimbabwe Independent
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