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

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora