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Zimbabwe’s President to Dissolve Parliament Ahead of Elections

Zimbabwe’s incumbent President Robert Mugabe is expected to dissolve parliament today (Friday) ahead of tomorrows general elections. This comes after Mugabe dissolved his cabinet yesterday in readiness to the elections. The move is reportedly in accordance with the country’s constitution, which stipulates that the cabinet should be dissolved two days before elections and parliament a day before the elections. The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claim it has uncovered a government plot to rig Saturday’s elections.

But President Mugabe rejected the allegation warning the opposition not to engage in any mass protests if they fail to win the elections. He warned that security forces are under orders to snuff any opposition protests after the elections. John Makumbe is a political science professor of the University of Zimbabwe. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that all seem to be set for tomorrow’s elections.

“That is according to the legislation here. According to the constitution, the president has to dissolve his cabinet the day before he dissolves parliament. So parliament will be dissolved tomorrow (Friday) and cabinet was dissolved today (Thursday),” Makumbe pointed out.

He described as unfortunate President Mugabe’s warning that the opposition will engage in violent protest when they lose Saturday’s general elections.

“I think he (Mugabe) is the one likely to go on the violent route. His party (ZANU-PF) is very well known for promoting violence and as you and I talks, I’m aware that the army and the police force have already been deployed in sub-urban areas in Masingo, in Harare, and possibly in Bulawayo and Mutare as well. And It is not likely that opposition parties will lose these elections, it is very likely that Mr. Mugabe himself will lose the election,” he said.

Makumbe described as unfortunate news that President Mugabe has been giving out cars ahead of Saturday’s elections.

“It’s too little too late. He has bought a lot of vehicles for medical doctors; he has bought them generators for electricity. He has bought them all kinds of things including televisions for the hospitals, but all these things were bought with state money. They will not actually influence the people who will go and vote Saturday. It’s too little too late,” Makumbe, noted.

(English to Africa 03-28-08)