News / Africa

Zimbabwe Elections Unlikely by March

Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai speaks in support for the country's draft constitution in Harare, September 8, 2012.
Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai speaks in support for the country's draft constitution in Harare, September 8, 2012.
Bickering over Zimbabwe's proposed new constitution is reducing chances the government will comply with a court ruling to hold national elections by March 31.

Practically speaking, a new constitution must come before new elections in Zimbabwe, because southern African leaders want to ensure the elections are credible. 

A committee submitted a draft constitution to parliament last July, but Zimbabwe’s main political parties have yet to agree on what changes to make before the charter is put before voters in a referendum.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Eric Matinenga, says he cannot say when the referendum might be held.

“I really wish I could tell.  The earlier we have a constitution, the earlier we have a referendum.  If we had a constitution maybe this week or next week, it means that we immediately go to parliament and we go for a referendum immediately thereafter,” he said.

Disputes between main parties

Zimbabwe's constitution-making process is at an impasse because of disputes between the main parties in the coalition government - President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The parties disagree on a proposed reduction of presidential powers and the inclusion of gay rights laws, among other things.  As a result, Zimbabwe is unlikely to meet a court ruling to hold national elections by 31 March.

McDonald Lewanika heads the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.  He says there are other factors which will make an election by the end of March unlikely.

“We had heard of an accelerated calendar with regards to election preparation processes," said Lewanika. "That has not taken place.  And more importantly, the conditions that are supposed to be there to ensure that this election process is free and fair are nowhere being achieved; a case in point is the constitution-making process which is basically in limbo at the moment.”

Matinenga has been leading discussions aimed at narrowing differences on the constitution.  He says areas of disagreement have gone down from more than 30 to about five since July of last year.  He says he wants the issue settled soon.

“I really think the people out there are tired.  I am tired too.  I think the next two weeks will give us an indication as to where we are going in terms of the constitution,” said Matinenga.

Even if areas of disagreements are solved, it is unlikely that Zimbabwe will have elections by March since the constitution requires a 90-day notice before voting can take place.

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti delivers his speech about the 2013 budget at the Parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 15, 2012.Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti delivers his speech about the 2013 budget at the Parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 15, 2012.
x
Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti delivers his speech about the 2013 budget at the Parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 15, 2012.
Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti delivers his speech about the 2013 budget at the Parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 15, 2012.
No funds for elections

And there is another hurdle to jump over: money.  Last month Zimbabwe’s finance minister Tendai Biti said the country did not have funds for the referendum and the elections.

“2013, the biggest challenge is funding the elections and the referendum," he said. "It is clear that our resources are not going to be enough.  It is quite clear that the international community has to come in for assistance.”

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has asked for nearly $200 million to hold the referendum and the elections.  Earlier this week, Biti said he had released $1 million to ensure voter registration begins.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Maxwell
January 09, 2013 11:50 PM
Studying the past chain of events helps to understand why this Country's economy collapsed and what difficulties face it now.
If these are once again ignored, collapse is certain with severe
consequences and much tragedy.

by: Tendai Marovanise from: Canada
January 08, 2013 4:26 PM
Someone is afraid of early elections ,indications are that civil society and the MDC-T are afraid of losing the elections .Everyday we here them talking of the possibility of holding elections not being possible for one reason or the other.
The new constitution is not a requirement for holding of elections Elections should be held then the constitutional issues dealt with later on by the victorious party.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More