Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe before the elections (26)



The controversy over the election date has slid into crisis, with the new Constitutional Court ruling that this should be held before July 31. This issue now dominates the political arena.

The present parliament will be dissolved on June 29.(1) The Court's decision came in response to an appeal by an individual representing a NGO said to be close to Zanu-PF and is thought to provide legal cover for President Robert Mugabe, who has made it clear for some time that he wishes to hold the election on June 29.(2) It is intended to allow Mugabe to force an early election date, to do so on his own and without reforms, ignoring the Global Political Agreement (GPA). Mugabe responded during his current Far Eastern tour by saying to ZBC that he would abide by the Court ruling.(3)

Analysts fear this will result in a sham election, as it provides no time for outstanding reform.(4) Legal experts point out that under the new constitution the government has four months leeway - I e Octobrr 29 - before forced to hold an election, with the executive and Ministers able to function without Parliament. Prof. Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller MDC faction, queried the validity of the Constitutional Court.(5). One of the two dissenting judges stated that the ruling was illogical.(6)

While the Court has strengthened Mugabe's hand, there is a faint chance that he may not get his will. Several formalities will have to be concluded before an election can be held, such as the amendment of existing law to conform with the new constitution. More to the point, the MDC factions have demanded that reforms must be introduced in line with the GPA before elections can be staged. This view is shared by South African President Jacob Zuma ahead of an Extraordinary SADC summit on Zimbabwe, with Zuma asking for a roadmap to the polls. The summit was to have been held in Maputo on June 9 to review the situation, whether free and fair elections can be held. Zanu-PF had fought hard to block SADC participation in Jomic proceedings, the GPA watchdog and to stop Jomic monitoring the election. Funding was also to be discussed. However, the Court ruling on the election date caused a great flurry and while Zuma's team lobbied the parties to agree on a date, Zanu-PF asked for a postponement, so that the meeting will now be held in Pretoria on June 10. The election date will then dominate proceedings.(7)

MDC leader and Premier Morgan Tsvangirai said the Court had exceeded its mandate. His party held a meeting to discuss the issue and concurred with its leader.(8) However, Tsvangirai's orders are often ignored by Zanu-PF ministers and Mugabe has frequently acted unilaterally without the Prime Minister. The question is whether Mugabe will go ahead and declare the election date unilaterally or not. If he does so, there could be a boycott by parties other than Zanu-PF, low voter turnout and refusal by other governments to accept the result.(9) Mugabe's party is said to be split by factionalism, which prevents him from retiring, with no leader to whom he can hand over the baton.(10)

Leaders of the MDC-T, MDC-N, Mavambo Kusile Dawn, ZAPU and ZANU Ndonga met at the Monomotapa Crown Plaza Hotel on June 5, saying they will fight for reforms, which hopefully is a first step towards a coalition.(11)

Analysts fear that a democratic election will be impossible and criticise the lifting of sanctions, as this is seen by Zanu-PF supporters as a victory over the EU and USA.(12)

Voters' Roll

A new 30-day voters registration period demanded by the new constitution was late in starting, because the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) was not ready.(13) Zec warned parties not to coerce voters to register. During the recent abortive registration exercise, Zanu-PF youths forced people to submit their names in door-to-door campaigns.(14). Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau has acknowledged that the voters' roll is in shambles and that "some" voters had inadvertently been removed from the list. She called it a tight schedule to deal with the problems, including those arising out of the recent registration.(15) Cabinet had instructed her together with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede to clean up the voters' roll. Makarau has assured "aliens" that they would not be turned away at the polls.(16) However, complaints about Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede continued, with the voters' roll still not being available, despite provision under the Constitution. Dumiso Dube, leader of Zapu, has requested a copy of the voters' roll since last November, but has still not received this.(17) Mudede was accused of usurping Zec's powers in regard to the voters' roll.

The question of the diaspora vote has not been settled. The government has not reacted to the ruling in February of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights ordering it to provide postal voting facilities for Zimbabweans abroad during the March referendum.(18)


Dali Tambo's TV interview with Mugabe, criticised as "PR for Mugabe" and called by a Mail and Guardian "sycophantic and fawning", has angered South Africans. Mugabe said Nelson Mandela had had treated non-blacks too kindly. He said, Mandela had been "too saintly, he's been too good, too much of a saint.".(19)


The activities of Zanu-PF thugs have been resumed, in efforts to intimidate voters and to keep the MDCs out of rural areas and Harare's Mbare.(20)In Mutoko soldiers and Zanu-PF supporters threatened starving villagers to deny them food aid if they did not support Zanu-PF. Similar activities took place in Gokwe South. Human Rights Watch has warned the government to discipline the security chiefs, if the polls are to have any meaning.(21)

Teachers have appealed for protection during the election campaign.(22)

Three ZimRights officials were detained and questioned for hours about their planned human rights activities.(23)

A Gay Rights group's offices in Harare were attacked by armed men.(24)

Party squabbles

MDC-T primary elections have caused ructions, with claims of rigging and bitter wrangling.(25)


The current high value of the US$ against the Rand threatens Zimbabwe's industry as well as importers. With the abolishing of the Zim$, the government could no longer control the currency.(26)

A youth policy is to be issued, to ensure youths a 25% quota in economic, indigenisation and empowerment initiatives.(27)

Chiadzwa Villagers complained that the government has sacrificed them for diamonds, with companies reneging on commitments.(28)

Claims about the success of the "fast-track" land reform made in the book "Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land" by Joseph Hanlon and others, were refuted by economist Prof. Tony Hawkins in an article in a German journal Weltsichten. Zimbabwe has turned from a substantial exporter of farm products prior to the reform to an importer, importing on average US$$650m of food a year (US$731m in 2012).(29)

A parliamentary committee recommended Ignatius Chombo, Local Government Minister, should be investigated for corruption and interference on the affairs of local authorities.(30)

  1. The Zimbabwean 5.6
  2. SW Radio Africa 31.5, 4.6, 6.6
  3. Guardian 3.6, Mail and Guardian 3.6, Zimbabwe Mail 2.6
  4. Daily News 2.6
  5. SW Radio Africa 3.6
  6. http://www.zimeye.org/
  7. Daily News 6.6, SW Radio Africa 6.6 Zim. Mail 5.6, SW Radio Africa 6.6
  8. New Zimbabwe 31.5, Standard 2.6, Voice of America 6.6
  9. Financial Times 1.6
  10. Zim. Mail 1.6
  11. SW Radio Africa 5.6, Voice of America Zim. 5.6, Daily News 6.6, New Zimbabwe 6.6
  12. Standard 2.6
  13. Herald 1.6, Voice of America Zim. 4.6
  14. Daily News 6.6
  15. New Zimbabwe 4.6, Daily News 6.6
  16. Zim. Independent 31.5
  17. Daily News 4.6
  18. SW Radio Africa 3.6
  19. SW Radio Africa 3.6, http://www.latimes.com/4.6, http://www.bdlive.co.za/5.6
  20. Zim. Independent 31.5, Nehanda Radio 2.6
  21. http://www.timeslive.co.za/5.6
  22. Voice of America Zim.31.5
  23. SW Radio Africa 4.6
  24. SW Radio Africa 6.6)
  25. Standard 2.6
  26. The Zimbabwean 5.6
  27. Zim. Independent 31.5
  28. Standard 2.6
  29. SW Radio Africa 3.6
  30. Daily News 6.6

Letzte Änderung: Monday, 10-Jun-2013 20:55:58 CEST [an error occurred while processing this directive]