Zimbabwe opposition calls for constitutional reform, may boycott elections

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The opposition party of Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has announced that it wishes for constitutional reform to take place before the planned March election. The party has warned that they may boycott the planned elections, as well as saying in a press release that they believe the current election to be a "farce". The party also said that they believed the planned date for the poll did not allow enough time for fair elections to take place.

The election, which was announced by Mugabe last week, are due to take place on March 29. The planned election have been announced to be for the parliament the Senate and the Council.

The MDC has not stated that it will not definitely boycott the elections and it has encouraged people who are eligible to register to vote. Hon Tendai Biti, the secretary general of the MDC said that "the MDC is preparing for elections but obviously the situation on the country shows that the country is not ready for the polls." He added that be believed "there are a lot of deadlock issues that are not yet resolved. " He also said that "As a party, we [the MDC] remain faithful to the dialogue process and the electoral process but a lot of sticking issues should be resolved as a matter of urgency."

Later in the speech Hon Biti criticized the elections being announced for March by saying that he thinks "the call for elections in March is irresponsible and is an affront to the dialogue process which is still taking place." He continued by saying he hopes "SADC will deal with this matter urgently because as a party, we remain committed to the peaceful resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis because Zimbabweans are tired of the national crisis which has them surviving on less than US20 cents a day."

Zanu-PF, the ruling party of Zimbabwe, responded to the calls for constitutional reform by saying it would be considered after the elections. Patrick Chinamasa, a representative of the party said "As far as we [Zanu-PF] are concerned, the dialogue that is being facilitated by South Africa is still ongoing. As ZANU-PF we are committed to an irreversible process that will result in the presentation of a draft constitution for national consultation. We would like whatever document comes out of the national consultative process to be subjected to a referendum and, if people accept it, only then will the country put in place a new constitution."


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