Mugabe Party Says New Polls For Zimbabwe In Mid-2011

“Our position is very clear, elections are going to be held next year before or after June whether the constitution-making process is complete or not,” Rugare Gumbo, spokesman for Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, told AFP following a meeting of the party’s top decision-making body.

“We are saying if the opposition keeps being difficult and dilly-dallying and delays the constitution-making process, we will go ahead with the elections.”

Gumbo’s statements came at the back of a warning by Britain’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Mark Canning that a premature vote risked turning into a repeat of a violent poll two years ago.

Zimbabwe’s general elections in 2008 were upset by violence in which 200 supporters of then-opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai were killed and thousands displaced, according to his party.

The disputed polls forced long-time ruler Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai into a power-sharing government to ease tensions and rebuild an economy wrecked by years of hyperinflation.

The work of the compromise government has been hampered by haggling over the allocation of key government posts, while violence and intimidation have also undermined public meetings to draw up a new constitution meant to pave the way for fresh elections.

Mugabe signalled in October that he wanted an elections by the end of June next year but his main rival Tsvangirai has said conditions are not ripe for a free and fair vote.

The head of the new electoral commission said in August the body did not have enough money to clean up the voters’ roll, which has been cited as a tool used in previous elections to hand victory to Mugabe’s party. (AFP)