Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Tsvangirai rejects 31 July election date

14 June 2013, 09:35

Harare - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai rejected President Robert Mugabe's declaration of a 31 July election on Thursday, accusing his rival of breaching the constitution and creating a political crisis.

The Constitutional Court ordered Mugabe two weeks ago to hold the poll by the end of July, following an application to the court by a Zimbabwean citizen demanding the president set a date before the current parliament expired.

Mugabe, who had anyway been pushing for an early vote, announced the election date on Thursday - fast-tracking changes to election laws by using a presidential decree to by-pass parliament.

A furious Tsvangirai, his partner in a fractious unity government, criticised him for complying with the court ruling rather than seeking an extension to the 31 July deadline.

The prime minister said Zimbabwe should hold the vote no earlier than 25 August to allow for reforms of the media and security forces to ensure it was fair.

He said Mugabe, leader of the Zaun-PF party, was violating the constitution and a power-sharing agreement set up after bloody and disputed polls five years ago, by not consulting him before announcing the election date.

"President Mugabe has acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally and is deliberately creating and precipitating an unnecessary constitutional crisis," Tsvangirai told a news conference.

Mugabe officials were not available for comment.

Zimbabwe is emerging from a decade of economic decline blamed on Mugabe and the political uncertainty has put a drag on a recovery. The economy probably contracted by up to 3% in the first quarter, according to Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

Beaten and killed

The president's announcement, made just two days before a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), is likely to infuriate regional diplomats trying to mediate between him and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The SADC is desperate to avoid a repeat of the disputed 2008 poll, which prompted a flood of refugees into neighbouring countries after hundreds of people, most of them Tsvangirai supporters, were beaten and killed.

The regional group has asked Mugabe and Tsvangirai to agree on a roadmap towards elections. The meeting was also due to discuss how to find the estimated $132m needed to fund the vote.

Lindiwe Zulu, Jacob Zuma's top Zimbabwe negotiator, said she was flying to Harare on Friday but declined to comment on Mugabe's election announcement.

Tsvangirai and his MDC want to open up broadcast media, currently controlled by Zanu-PF, to all parties and to impose a code of conduct to stop the army and police meddling in the vote.

Tsvangirai said on Thursday he would not accept a situation in which Zimbabweans were "railroaded" into "another illegitimate election" and he would mount a legal challenge.

Mugabe was chairing a meeting of Zanu-PF's executive council on Thursday to agree on rules for its internal election of candidates, a process that has previously divided the party. The MDC will complete its own internal vote at the weekend.

Although there have been no formal opinion polls, surveys in the past year by Freedom House, a US political think tank, and African research group Afro-Barometer have given Mugabe a narrow lead over Tsvangirai.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...