Zimbabwe Parties Gear Up For Elections Despite Regional Call for Road-Map
The Southern African Development Community at an August summit urged the three co-governing parties in Zimbabwe to come up with a road map to elections, and Pretoria recently underscored that approach
Although South African President Jacob Zuma in his capacity as Southern African Development Community mediator has urged Zimbabwe's leadership to chart a roadmap for elections before calling a new ballot, the two main parties this weekend were exhorting supporters to get ready for anticipated 2011 elections.
Members of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in Mashonaland East, Manicaland and Harare province endorsed Mr. Mugabe, who has issued the strongest call for elections, as their candidate for president at weekend meetings.
The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai held meetings in Bulawayo and Masvingo where officials told supporters the party was ready for elections - but if they will be free, fair and above all nonviolent.
The MDC formation of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is opposed to early elections, saying the country is simply not ready after its 2008 electoral debacle.
The Southern African Development Community at an August summit urged the three co-governing parties in Zimbabwe to come up with a roadmap to elections, saying the regional bloc should help to establish guidelines. A senior aide to Mr. Zuma last week said Pretoria continues to urge Harare to set out a roadmap detailing the steps to be accomplished on the way to elections, including drafting a new constitution.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Programs Manager Pedzisai Ruhanya told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the unity government parties are no longer respecting the Global Political Agreement their leaders signed in September 2008. The GPA laid the foundation for the inclusive government launched in February 2009.
Immanuel Hlabangana of the Johannesburg-based Diaspora Dialogue told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that both ZANU-PF and MDC politicians are making a mistake by calling for a vote next year without necessary reforms in place.