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Governing Parties Dismiss Call to Extend Unity Govt to Allow Reforms

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change have shot down suggestions by the International Crisis Group that the life of the government of national unity be extended to allow for further reforms before elections are held sometime this year.

The think tank’s report titled “Zimbabwe Election Scenarios” says reforms have been slow in coming and the risk of large scale violence and military involvement is high.

The unity agreement was facilitated by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in 2009 with the hope of ending political violence, stabilising the country’s battered economy and creating a roadmap to credible elections. This after a disputed election in 2008.

The ICG report says: “Deferral, if accompanied by firm SADC pressure, presents opportunities to promote reforms, on condition that strict timelines are defined, monitoring is enhanced significantly, political parties understand the risks of failure, and institutional weaknesses and the potential for interference by the security sector are reversed.”

SADC appointed mediator, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa is struggling to come up with an election road map for Zimbabwe. The slow pace of reform forced Mr. Tsvangirai to embark on a diplomatic initiative last week, meeting key African leaders urging them to push President Mugabe to implement crucial political and media reforms.

Spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora of the Tsvangirai-led MDC told VOA that extending the life of the GNU is not something they are considering though they still want further reforms.
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Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo concurs with Mwonzora, saying extending the life of the GNU will be unconstitutional. Gumbo says enough reforms have been made and elections cannot be delayed.

But the ICG report says: “As the Global Political Agreement (GPA) staggers to an end, continued violations of the agreement, reform deficits, limited institutional credibility and the rejection of UN election needs assessment mission underscore the continued absence of conditions for peaceful and credible elections, despite the new constitution adopted in March 2013."