Zuma’s facilitation team, working with negotiators from Zanu (PF) and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have produced a roadmap which has tentatively set the harmonized elections to be either held in August or September 2011 or early 2013.
But insiders said the Politburo, which met in Harare on Wednesday, unanimously resolved to insist on elections this year and to reject the proposed roadmap presented to them by their negotiator Patrick Chinamasa until timelines and other aspects of it were revised.
The same insiders said Zanu (PF) further resolved to find ways of pushing the MDC to elections this year, accusing the MDC-T, particularly Finance Minister Tendai Biti of refusing to release funds to expedite the constitution-making process.
Zanu (PF) Rugare Gumbo confirmed the party was not happy with the pace of the writing of the new constitution and that entire election road-map. “There is no two ways about it, we want elections this year. The timelines are unreasonable. We don’t support it,” Gumbo told Radio VOP.
Gumbo claimed that party leader President Robert Mugabe was not aware of a number of issues, including that government had no money to fund the constitutional reform process.
But Dewa Mavhinga, the regional information and advocacy officer with Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition told Radio VOP that despite this resolve by Zanu (PF) it is unlikely there will be elections this year. “It appears to me that even within Zanu (PF) there is no consensus on the demand for early elections – but the enduring challenge for the party is how to deal with Mugabe’s succession where some had hoped that he would be their presidential candidate to face Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
There is a feeling that if Mugabe is not the candidate, no other leader can hold the party together or the security chiefs together, hence the scramble for elections in 2011 where they believe they can still present Mugabe to the nation as candidate – that may not be possible next year or later,” said Mavhinga.