PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s plans to hold elections by June 29 continue to draw suspicion with analysts saying the dates are not tenable as long as critical political and other reforms have not been implemented.
Report by Patrice Makova
But other analysts said implementation of reforms should be speeded up as it would be impossible to do that after June 29 when Parliament is automatically dissolved in accordance with the Constitution.
Mugabe last week indicated in an urgent High Court chamber application that following the adoption of a new draft constitution in the recent referendum, harmonised elections will be held by June 29.
The government on Thursday gazetted the draft charter as a constitutional bill paving the way for its tabling in Parliament on May 7.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Shakespeare Hamauswa said there was no reason for holding polls in June other than intimidating Zanu PF opponents who still feared the violence which characterised the June 27 2008 Presidential election run-off.
He said most people still remembered the month of June with “disheartening memories”.
“If it is true that the MDC-T lost some of its 200 supporters, then it is not only the month that will be significant to Zanu PF, but also the date  because of it being closer to 27,” said Hamauswa.
He said the process of adopting the new constitution also required a lot of time, making it impossible to hold elections in June.
“If all parties are in agreement that they are in the course of building the nation and laying down fundamental democratic principles, then why should people be rushed into elections which can recklessly plunge the country into a definite crisis?,” asked Hamauswa.
“But for political expedience and other motives beyond what an ordinary person can see, the holding of elections in June will only make sense for politicians.”
Political analyst, Alois Masepe said it was now practically impossible to come up with a clean voters roll and properly register people before the June 29 deadline.
He said elections and reforms were not about the characters of Mugabe and Zanu PF or Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC-T, but about the people and the future of the country.
Masepe said people wanted free and fair elections at the “appropriate” time.
“It’s not a rushed job,” he said. “Nobody is holding a gun at us. We need to do these things in the correct manner; so that the world can say we have done a good job for the country.”
Masepe accused parties of playing political games and gambling with the lives of people for expediency purposes.
He said rather than rushing to holding elections, the inclusive government should work to ensure that progress and stability is achieved in a country with an over 80% unemployment rate and experiencing massive infrastructural decay.
“Our leaders must act like true statesmen and rescue our motherland and not this feja feja [gambling] and wapusa wapusa [you snooze, you lose] politics. Zimbabwe is now an embarrassment to Sadc because of such kind of behaviour,” Masepe said.
He said Zanu PF was rushing to hold elections in the hope of regaining total control of the country.
Political scientist, Dr Ibbo Mandaza said a June election was not desirable as the democratisation process was still to be completed.
He said while Mugabe wanted to hold elections before June 29 to adhere to the Constitution, such a move could not be reconciled with the reality on the ground.
“But hurried elections will on the other hand lead to an unconstitutional outcome,” said Mandaza. “There is a requirement that a voter registration exercise has to be done in a stipulated time frame. If this process is not done then elections become a farce.”
He said the issue of the voters roll has been contentious for the past four to five elections.
But another political analyst, Phillan Zamchiya was of the view that it was not the date which mattered, but the political will to implement the necessary reforms within the shortest period of time.
He said as Parliament would automatically dissolve on June 29, there would be no legislative arm of government to institute reforms being called for such as the repealing of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) and the Public Order and Security Act (Posa).