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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs