Zuma Working On Zimbabwe's Free And Fair Election

“We want to create a conducive environment so that they can have elections to choose their own government but the continuation of sanctions is undermining the agreement,“ South African President Jacob Zuma told the weekly Sunday Times newspaper.“Zimbabwe is not an easy matter. It is very complex. It is impacting on South Africa. We have a facilitation team close to the situation and working with me. My first point of call is the troika led by President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique.“

However the co-chairperson  of the parliamentary committee on constitutional reform and Zanu PF legislator for Chivi Central constituency Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana says Zimbabwe’s new constitution will only be be ready by 2012.

“We will not accept any election in this country before 2013. I have been on record saying this and let it be clear to anyone that I will personally incite all MPs from all political parties to refuse that election in Zimbabwe. We will block that election,” said Mangwana.

Mangwana said he was aware that Zimbabweans are eager to have a new constitution as soon as possible but, however, there are a lot of
‘processes before the constitution is done’.

“Zimbabweans have to bear with us on this one. There is no way we can have a constitution before 2012. We are already seven months behind
and there is no way we are going to skip those months. It was foolish of the negotiators to agree that there be a constitution when there were no funds for that. For us, to use donor funds is like asking a foreigner to pay lobola for your wife… it simply shows lack of seriousness,” said Mangwana.

Zuma’s coments come less than a week after the MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who signed a political agreement with President Mugabe’s Zanu PF and Arthur Mutambara’s smaller MDC party, declared a deadlock and asked the South African leader to intervene.

However his negotiating team has so far responded to these calls, saying they are yet to receive a report to that effect from the negotiating parties insisting the parties are still negotiating.

Zuma said criticisms that has so far been labelled against him for not doing enough to break the impasse north of the Limpopo are not justified.

“Those who have criticised South Africa have done absolutely nothing. People don’t seem to be looking at Zimbabwe in totality. They wanted us to shout on top of our voices. That would have undermined the negotiations. The issue is very complex. We handled a very explosive situation in a responsible manner. We need to reach a point where they’ll go to elections without a fight. We need to put a platform for them to move forward,“ said Zuma.

Zimbabwe’s unity government that came into office last February has been credited with stabilising the country’s economy to improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans. But the administration has made no real progress in implementing political reforms and ending human rights abuses after a year in office.

Incessant bickering between coalition partners over how to equally share executive power, the appointment of senior government officials and the removal of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his top allies threaten to cripple the government. Radio VOP/Sunday Times