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Zimbabwe PM Tsvangirai Says President Mugabe Can't Call Elections Alone


Mr Mugabe contends that he can call new elections under the constitution as it stood before Amendment 19 which incorporated the terms of the September 2008 Global Political Agreement

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has accused his partner in government, President Robert Mugabe, of causing unnecessary “alarm and despondency” following Mr. Mugabe's recent threat to dissolve Parliament and call snap elections this month, boosting tensions in the rickety national unity government.

Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum, Mr. Tsvangirai told reporters this week that under the Global Political Agreement for power sharing the president and prime minister, who share executive authority under the GPA, must determine the date for elections after mutual consultations.

"President Mugabe continues to needlessly cause alarm and despondency in the country by pretending to be oblivious to the fact that this is a coalition government," the prime minister said. "The president and the prime minister now share executive authority and one cannot act exclusiven of the other in making executive decisions."

Mr Mugabe contends that he can call new elections under the constitution as it stood before Amendment 19 which incorporated the terms of the September 2008 Global Political Agreement which underpins the current unity government.

Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai have now returned to the country - the president from the African Union summit just concluded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Political analyst Trevor Maisiri told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the premature call for a new round of elections is a matter of concern for a still-fragile nation.

Zimbabwe's last round of elections in 2008 was marred by deadly violence, particularly in the run-up to the presidential run-off from which Mr. Tsvangirai withdrew in protest.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has urged the African Union and the Southern African Development Community to push for security sector reform in Harare.

In a statement issued this weekend the lawyers called for the “immediate engagement of the security sector by senior military structures in SADC and AU to establish a firm agreement on military role (or non-role) in electoral processes.”

Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangangwa and top generals have vowed that they will not allow Mr Tsvangirai to take power even if he wins the next election.

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