Cape Town, January 25, 2013 – Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has added his voice to the possibility of an election being held this year after Zimbabwe’s political parties agreed on a final draft constitution that will be put to a referendum.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Tsvangirai said the constitution had always been a significant step towards a referendum and an election.
“What has now happened is that all the issues have been resolved. We believe that we can have this constitution drafted by the drafters next week, and hopefully after that we can set the date for the referendum,” Tsvangirai said.
President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai were forced into a power-sharing government in 2009 after deadly and disputed polls held the previous year.
Their relations have been characterised by bickering and counter-accusations of violence.
Tsvangirai said there was, however, a need to have the constitution promoted and to have it publicised, adding that since there was national consensus by all parties, the referendum was just a formality.
“The referendum will be a formality… Since there is a consensus by all parties, I don’t think there is a descending voice.”
“But you can’t rule out that other people are opposed not only to the process but the substance of the constitution. They are allowed. That is why we are putting it to the referendum… So by March we can go to a referendum,” said Tsvangirai.
“Whilst we are going to the referendum, we are also concurrently having a voter registration and voter inspection process for two months.
“Then afterwards all the laws have to be aligned to the new constitution, which means you need more time to align some of the laws that are not in conformity with the new constitution and we hope that then we can then determine the date of the national elections.”
Asked whether elections would be held this year, Tsvangirai said: “It is definitely going to be this year.”
Tsvangirai’s statement comes at a time when Zanu (PF)’s politburo has also endorsed the new draft constitution, saying the party will urge its supporters to vote Yes during the referendum.
Zanu (PF)’s Secretary for Information and Publicity Rugare Gumbo saidhis party was now focussing on other issues like primary elections as it was currently restructuring at cell and village levels. – News24