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Zimbabwe's New Electoral Commission Rules out National Elections in 2011

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, head of a smaller formation of the splintered Movement for Democratic Change party, has accused his two inclusive government partners of grandstanding and posturing

The head of the recently reformed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said his panel is now overhauling the country's voters roll and putting various electoral logistical elements in place - but insisted that there is no way the country can hold presidential and general elections next year as some have proposes.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairman Simpson Mutambanengwe said it was out of the question to hold new elections in 2011 as President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have proposed as a means of resolving seemingly intractable differences in their unity government.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, head of a smaller formation of the splintered Movement for Democratic Change party - Mr. Tsvangirai's formation is more influential in the three-way government - has accused his two inclusive government partners of grandstanding and posturing.

Mutambanengwe told VOA that his commission has a mammoth task, but will seek proper funding from the government. "Ultimately the economy will determine when the elections will be held," he said.

But spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation differed, telling VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that his party will continue pressing for new national elections next year.

Tsvangirai himself declared Friday: "Elections are inevitable as any transitional process can only ever be temporary." He demanded "administrative logistical changes" to ensure free and fair elections.

Director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, which held a workshop on election reporting in Kariba on Friday, said elections next year would be premature.

Her sentiments were shared by political analyst John Makumbe, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe who told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that political parties must allow time for reforms before pressing on for a definitive national poll.

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