MAPUTO, June 17 (BERNAMA-NNN- NEW ZIANA) — Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa says the Zanu PF party led by President Robert Mugabe will resist any attempt, in court if necessary, to delay the country’s next general election beyond the July 31 date proclaimed by the president.
The Constitutional Court had ordered Mugabe two weeks ago to call for elections no later than July 31, 2013 but the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the partners of Zanu-PF in the current coalition government, want the elections delayed on grounds that the country is yet to implement media and security sector reforms.
The twp MDC factions parties had been pressing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) — one of the guarantors of Zimbabwe’s current power-sharing government — to force Mugabe to delay elections beyond July 31.
At an extraordinary SADC summit in this capital of Mozambique on Saturday, the regional grouping said Zimbabwe should comply with the court order but can seek an extension of the election deadline if there were compelling reasons.
Chinamasa, who is a top Zanu-PF official, said no valid reason existed and the MDC factions’ calls for a postponement of the election was merely a delaying tactic to re-organise their sharply divided parties.
Zanu PF will petition the Constitutional Court to uphold its ruling on the election date if the MDC formations pushed ahead to seek an extension, he added.
“From here, we as Zanu PF are contesting that there is no need for amendments to whether it’s media reforms or security sector. We can only implement that which we have agreed, we cannot implement disagreements, they are unimplementable. So until we have agreed, we have nothing to implement,” he said.
Chinamasa tacitly accused the SADC facilitator to Zimbabwe, South African President Jacob Zuma, of bias in favour of the MDC in his report on the situation in the country to Saturday’s summit.
President Zuma extensively quoted the MDC position on the elections and omitted that of Zanu PF, he said.
Chinamasa said this was credible ground for Zanu PF to resist any attempt to extend the election period.
“I was also surprised that in the facilitator’s report they attached the press statement of the Prime Minister which he gave on Thursday,” he added.
“(Zimbabwe’s) Minister of Foreign Affairs and I addressed the ambassadors, who included the ambassador of South Africa, which is the facilitating country. We also distributed documents to them explaining the action that we had taken but our document was not made part of the facilitator’s report and we took note. We are going to base our contest against postponement of the election date on that,” said Chinamasa.
Mugabe has been tipped to win the general election.
The SADC Summit had been convened principally to help Zimbabwe raise funding for the elections.
An estimated US$130 million is required for the elections and the SADC pledged last month to help the country raise the money.