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

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora