Though Zimbabwe has barely embarked on making a new constitution as a key step toward holding another round of elections after the disastrous ballots of 2008, debate has sprung up as to whether the current unity government should last more than two years.
The Mass Public Opinion Institute recently reported that 44% of Zimbabweans surveyed in a broad poll on economic and political conditions wanted the unity government to be replaced no later than 24 months from now. But 29% said they wanted the inclusive government to continue for five years or more, suggesting apprehension about new elections.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa of the long-ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe said recently that it could take several years to put a new constitution in place, and therefore it could be several years before new elections could take place.
But many members of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change whose main formation is led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai want the new elections as soon as possible, seeing the unity government as a short-term solution.
For perspective, reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to Program Officer Belinda Musanhu of the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa and political science lecturer Joseph Kurebwa of the University of Zimbabwe.
Kurebwa argued that while the September 2008 Global Political Agreement for power-sharing says elections should be held in 24 months, there are other factors to consider – in particular whether Zimbabwe is stable enough politically and economically to hold new elections.