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SADC Urges Zimbabwe Leaders to Seek Fresh Election Date

  • Gibbs Dube

Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders have told Zimbabwe’s unity government principals to seek a fresh election date instead of holding elections on July 31 as per a presidential decree issued Thursday.

The leaders, who held an extraordinary summit in Maputo, Mozambique, on Saturday after President Robert Mugabe unilaterally declared the election date, resolved that Zimbabwe should at least hold the elections in August this year following the implementation of some outstanding Global Political Agreement issues.

These include electoral and media reforms, registration of voters and the cleaning up of the voters roll said to have thousands of ghost voters.

Priscillah Misihairabwi Mushonga, secretary general of the MDC formation of Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, who attended the Maputo summit, said President Mugabe indicated that he was happy with the outcome of the summit.

“The summit resolved that the Zimbabwean government should go back to the constitutional court to ask for a variance of the dates by about two weeks so as to allow for the implementation of the issues that need to be done before holding elections … President Mugabe agreed to that,” said Misihairabwi Mushonga.

There was no immediate reaction from presidential spokesman, George Charamba, and Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo.

In a related development, Industry Minister Welshman Ncube has been officially endorsed MDC presidential candidate as the party says it is still open to an electoral pact with other parties to unseat President Mugabe in the forthcoming general elections.

MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube said all 12 party political provinces nominated Ncube as the presidential candidate for the polls which were initially set for July 31 before the intervention of SADC leaders Saturday.

Dube said Mr. Ncube has duly accepted the nomination and is now preparing for the presidential election. He told VOA Studio 7 it was not a foregone conclusion that Ncube would be elected the party’s presidential candidate.

At the same time, election fever has gripped most parts of the country where the MDC-T formation is holding primaries in constituencies that did not endorse sitting lawmakers. But all was not rosy Saturday at Nyamunga Stadium in Kariba, Mashonaland West Province where people suspected to be members of the army’s Boat Squadron raided the venue.

MDC-T Mashonaland West provincial secretary Greenwich Ndanga says a ward leader was seriously injured when he questioned the soldiers about what they were doing.

In Harare, some sitting MPS including Science and Technology Minister Heneri Dzinotyiwei and Pearson Mungofa of Highfields have lost to other aspiring candidates.
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