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Zimbabweans: Unity Govt Failed to Implement Key Reforms

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The unity government on Thursday came under attack from a cross section of Zimbabweans for its failure to implement key democratic reforms as elections draw near.

With the life of the seventh parliament coming to an end in two days and fresh elections beckoning, some Zimbabweans said the unity government has failed in its mandate to create conditions for free and fair elections.

Freelance journalist Jeffrey Moyo said parties in the unity government spent the last four years haggling over the implementation of provisions of the Global Political Agreement but produced no results.

Moyo said the little time left before the expiry of the term of the current parliament midnight Saturday is the clearest indication that journalists face a tough time ahead due to the absence of media reforms.

Human rights activist David Chidende, who works with the National Constitutional Assembly, says the absence of security sector reforms ahead of this year’s elections may see political violence re-emerging ahead of the upcoming polls.

Although the two MDC formations have repeatedly called for the re-alignment of the security sector, Zanu PF – through Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa – has remained defiant that reforms are a pipe-dream of parties they say are scared of elections.

Director of the Media Centre, Earnest Mudzengi, said the outcome of the forthcoming poll will not be credible given the unlevel playing field that they will be held under.

At its summit held in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, on June 15, the Southern African Development Community urged Harare to take immediate measures to ensure credible polls are held in the country.

Prior to the summit, President Robert Mugabe had declared that polls would be held on July 31. But after representations to regional leaders by Mr. Mugabe’s governing partners, the regional bloc urged Harare to delay the holding of elections by at least two weeks pending the full implementations of reforms agreed by parties in the coalition government.

Following the summit, Mr. Mugabe through Minister Chinamasa, unilaterally sought to extend the poll date to August 14 without consulting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller other MDC formation.

This prompted counter applications by both Mr. Tsvangirai and Professor Ncube. The president’s absence resulted in the Constitutional Court postponing indefinitely the hearing of five cases brought before it – all cases have a bearing on this year’s crucial polls.

One of Mr. Tsvangirai’s lawyers, Selby Hwacha, said attorneys representing all opposition parties met Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and agreed that all the cases be consolidated into one and will be heard next week Thursday.

Meanwhile, the nomination court is expected to sit Friday to take names of candidates who will contest for presidential, parliamentary and local government seats.

Many people now believe that SADC and the African Union have failed to resolve Zimbabwe's political impasse.

For perspective on this issue that has worsened divisions in the unity government, VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo turned to ZANU PF member of parliament Cairo Mhandu and MDC-T parliamentary Chief Whip Innocent Gonese.

Gonese said it is clear the past four years has seen the three political parties in the unity government disagreeing on many issues.

But, he said, there should have been consensus to keep all three arms of government alive ahead of the elections.
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