Tsvangirai briefs AU on electoral challenges


PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said the deployment of African Union (AU) observers is crucial in creating an environment that guarantees credible elections.

The PM, through his spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka, applauded Sadc for its resolution to deploy an observer mission ahead of a crucial general election, likely to be held in September.

“The PM said he appreciates the early deployment of observers by the AU,” Tamborinyoka said yesterday after Tsvangirai met three of the 10-member AU team that has been in the country for a week.

Tamborinyoka said the premier gave the observers an update on disputed issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and Sadc resolutions, specifically the recent Constitutional Court ruling that has divided Principals.

“He also gave them an update on the political situation in the country, obviously including the Constitutional Court ruling which has caused a lot of problems, I cannot get into the details because it is still subjudice,” he said.

“They (AU observers) asked a few questions of cause. This is an observer mission and we do not want to delve into the nitty-gritties of what they said.”

Tsvangirai expressed displeasure over delays and inefficiencies that have characterised the second voter registration exercise.

“He spoke about the frustrations around voter registration, I think we have all seen the long queues,” Tamborinyoka said. “Tsvangirai yesterday went to Market Square and Kuwadzana, where people are still finding it difficult to exercise their constitutional right to register to vote.” The PM’s spokesperson said Justice minister,Patrick Chinamasa’s appeal for an extension to the election date is rendered weak due to its “unilateral” nature.

“It is clear that what was submitted by minister Chinamasa was a unilateral application when the Sadc position was clear that it should be a government position, not an application by one political party.

“It was an application doomed to fail,” he said.

Meanwhile, Goodwill Shana, the Zimbabwe Head of Christian denominations chairperson who also met the PM immediately after the AU team said the church, given a chance, would have preferred dialogue in resolving the election date circus.

“We do not want to disparage our courts, but if we had our way perhaps that decision would have been made in other quarters maybe through engagement, dialogue and consensus rather than a decree,” Shana said. “But we respect the ruling and hopefully the Principals will be able to give us a clearer and consensual way forward.”

Shana represents the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Council of Churches.

He said the organisations were engaging the country’s Principals to pave way for a democratic and credible election.

He said all political parties should do more than just preach about peace during the pending election ,but also commit to it at all public forums.

“All the parties seem to be eager and singing from the same hymn, but what is important is what will happen on the environment itself. It is good to give us an ascription to peace but it is another thing to make sure that peace prevails,” he said.

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