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Analyst Sees Zimbabwe’s Referendum, Election in Doubt

  • Peter Clottey

President Robert Mugabe (file photo)

President Robert Mugabe (file photo)

A social commentator said a majority of Zimbabweans are concerned the anticipated national referendum on a new constitution, as well as the next general election, could be derailed due to lack of funds.

Rejoice Mgwenya told VOA from Harare the unity government has so far failed to meet civil servants’ demand for a better pay increase.

“There is so much disenchantment in the civil service in that they can’t get an increase in salaries. At the same time, industry is complaining about timid liquidity in the banking sector, which has no money. But, ZANU-PF keeps talking about the possibility of a referendum this year and election next year,” he said.

Mgwenya also said that Zimbabweans are convinced that “these two events (the referendum and election), barring any miracles, are not going to happen.”

The U.N. Development Program (UNDP) has been helping to fund Zimbabwe’s constitutional reform process that is scheduled to lead to both the referendum and the general election.

Officials of the unity government have not yet decided whether the referendum will be held this year or early next year ahead of the general election.

Mgwenya said the international community appears to have little interest in funding Zimbabwe’s election.

“It’s very unlikely that the international community, that has been very reluctant to promote a very simple constitutional outreach, might end up sustaining a $200 million exercise. So, we don’t see a scenario where the international community will support this massive and mammoth project.”

Zimbabwe’s embattled President, Robert Mugabe, was quoted as saying he wants improved ties with both the United States and the European Union. But, he has insisted on continuing with his controversial indigenization policy requiring all businesses to have a majority of black shareholders.

The Zimbabwean leader has often blamed the West for his country’s economic problems.