Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says the country's constitutional revision process must be speeded up so elections can be held next year, arguing that the national unity government installed in February 2009 has outlived its legal mandate and is therefore, operating illegally and unconstitutionally.
Mr. Mugabe was addressing members of his ZANU-PF Central Committee in Harare on Thursday. Both formations of the co-governing Movement for Democratic Change have said elections cannot be held until broad reforms are instituted. Moreover, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has not put funds for elections in his 2012 budget.
Spokesman Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Mr. Mugabe should be talking about reforms, not elections. "We are ready for elections anytime, but we want reforms first," he said.
The 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing called for electoral, media and other reforms to be implemented by the unity government, but progress on all fronts has been slow. The MDC has been demanding reform of the security sector including the military, police and security services, but Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF has resisted.
Qhubani Moyo, organizing secretary of the MDC wing led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube commented that elections may not even be possible next year.
Elsewhere, members of yet another MDC wing led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, which broke away from the Ncube formation after Mutambara was ousted as president in January, said Friday that Deputy House Speaker Nomalanga Khumalo, expelled this week from the Ncube MDC, was now party vice president.
Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported on the latest MDC shuffle.