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Zimbabwe Unity Govt Parties Clash Over UN Assessment Team

  • Tatenda Gumbo

A fact-finding mission by the United Nations election assessment team, which Finance Minister Tendai Biti on Monday said had been cleared to enter Zimbabwe, was Tuesday thrown into doubt after unity government principals failed to agree on granting the team unrestricted access to all political players in the country, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has revealed.

Addressing journalists after two days of meetings by principals in the unity government, Mr. Tsvangirai said, the matter has been referred back to the finance minister and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to talk to the UN mission and agree on a list of people and organizations they should meet while in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Biti told a press conference Monday that he had agreed with Mr. Chinamasa on who the fact-finding mission would be allowed to meet, adding unity government principals had the final say on whether the team would be allowed to meet civil society leaders or not.

Harare requested $254 million from the UN for elections but Biti said the figure has since been reduced to $132 million.

Mr. Tsvangirai said no election date has been set yet, adding principals have assigned the minister of justice and constitutional affairs to draw an election road map and suggest to the unity government leaders when they think the elections can be held.

He said parliament should continue with its daily business until its dissolution on June 29.

He said funds will be raised so voter registration can start as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Student Union president Pride Mukono told a news conference Tuesday that voter registration must be decentralised to all tertiary institutions to give students a chance to register in the forthcoming elections.

The union resolved as an organization to mobilize and vote against ZANU-PF, swaying their votes to the Movement for Democratic Change formations of Prime Morgan Tsvangirai and professor Welshman Ncube.

Mukono said members of his organisation will support a grand coalition of what he said are democratic forces in the country. He urged the two MDC formations to unite in ordeer to defeat Zanu-PF in the next election.

The students' highest body, the general council, unilaterally voted and declared Zanu-PF “an enemy beyond reconciliation”.

ZINASU said it is demanding free and fair elections and through a massive voter registration, hopes to register 40,000 students and youth for the upcoming polls.

Zimbabwe is due to hold crucial elections sometime this year to end the shaky coalition government.
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