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Mugabe, SADC on Collision Course Over Election Date

A showdown is looming between President Robert Mugabe and regional leaders over the proclamation of Zimbabwe's election date before outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement have been dealt with.

Addressing the third Zimbabwe local government conference in Mutare, Manicaland prrovince Friday, President Mugabe vowed he would this week decide on the dates for this year’s harmonized elections after signing the new draft constitution into law.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube dismissed Mr. Mugabe’s threats to unilaterally announce election dates calling the move unconstitutional.

A Southern African Development Community organ troika meeting in summit in Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday in its communique urged Zimbabwe’s political parties to”finalize the outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA and prepare for holding free and fair elections.”

SADC-appointed South African president Jacob Zuma is the mediator in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Zuma’s international relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu, told VOA that that SADC expects Zimbabwe to follow the agreed roadmap though it cannot prescribe a date.
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But Zanu-PF's deputy information director, Psychology Mazivisa, said Mr. Mugabe’s move to proclaim election dates is constitutional.
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However, MDC-T spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, said Mr. Mugabe’s move is unconstitutional.

Nhlanhla Dube, spokesman of the MDC formation led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube concured with Mwonzora and accused Mr. Mugabe of grandstanding.

Political analyst, Trevor Maisiri of the International Crisis Group, said it will be difficult for Mr. Mugabe to make such a unilateral decision in the current government set-up.
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