Tsvangirai rules out 2012 by-elections


HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday ruled out prospects of the country holding by-elections in the 38 vacant constituencies.

Addressing journalists during his monthly briefing, Tsvangirai said he had discussed the issue with President Robert Mugabe last week who he said would make an announcement soon.

“We have discussed the issue of by-elections as Principals but there is one snag which is how we observe the ruling in the face of financial constraints,” the MDC leader told reporters at Munhumutapa Building.

“Government’s ability to finance the elections is constrained. We have to decide whether to hold three or all 38 by elections. President Mugabe will be making an announcement and I do not think it will be about by-elections it will be something else.”

In July the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by Mugabe challenging a High Court decision directing him to gazette a date for by-elections in three parliamentary constituencies in Matabeleland provinces.

The President appealed against Justice Nicholas Ndou’s ruling handed down in October 2011 ordering the Zanu PF leader to ensure by-elections for Nkayi South, Bulilima East and Lupane East were conducted as they were constitutionally long overdue.

But Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku issued an operative part of the Supreme Court judgment dismissing Mugabe’s appeal and ordering him to publish in the government gazette “a notice ordering new elections to fill the vacancies as soon as possible but by no later than August 30, 2012.”

Mugabe was dragged to court by three former MDC-M legislators Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu in 2010 after their parliamentary membership was terminated following their suspension and subsequent expulsion from the smaller MDC party.

Last week a shadowy columnist in the State media Nathaniel Manheru, who is believed to be presidential spokesperson George Charamba claimed Mugabe would announce a date for by-elections in all 38 vacant constituencies and not the three that were ordered.

Tsvangirai yesterday seemed to pour cold water on the claim.

“Even if we had to contest the by-elections, the 12 months of the agreement that required us not to contest each other is expired and should we run the by-elections when we are going to have an election in the next six or eight months?

“I am sure that President Mugabe will be able to make an announcement on that,” he said.

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