Mugabe, Tsvangirai in Xmas rush

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HARARE – President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube are rushing to set dates for a referendum before the Christmas break as both MDC parties and Zanu PF are anxious to put an end to the constitution-writing process.

At its just-ended Zanu PF conference held in Gweru, Mugabe’s Zanu PF, which wants elections by March next year, resolved that the country should hold a referendum before the end of the year in order to prepare for a fresh election pitting the bitter rivals and current coalition partners.

Zanu PF implored “GPA parties to conclude the constitution-making process before Christmas this year, failing which the head of state and government and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces should in terms of the law issue the relevant proclamation dissolving Parliament and fixing a date for the holding of the harmonised elections under the current Constitution.”

Alex Magaisa, secretary in the Prime Minister’s office said dates for a referendum should be set before Christmas so that a referendum would be held either end of January or beginning of February.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), the body mandated with conducting elections, needs six weeks to prepare for a referendum and according to Magaisa, setting the dates before the Christmas break would give parties an opportunity to plan for the referendum on the new constitution.

“The date for a referendum must be set before Christmas not only because Zec needs six weeks to prepare for the referendum but also because we need to start campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote,” said Magaisa.

While the MDC has already pronounced that it will go for a “yes” vote in the referendum, Zanu PF is yet to make a decision. Rugare Gumbo’s Zanu PF spokesperson told the Daily News that his party wants the completion of the constitution-making process as soon as possible to enable the party to prepare ground for elections.

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