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Fresh doubts over poll roadmap

The partners last week drew up an electoral roadmap, with tentative dates set for a referendum and possible elections, but already it looks like these will be missed.

According to the proposed roadmap, the referendum should be held in November and if all goes according to plan, an election will be held next August.
But Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, secretary-general of the MDC said the timeframe for the holding of elections was process specific and everything depended on the referendum.

“The November date is based on that the drafting of the constitution would flow smoothly and it will be adopted without any disagreements and this is highly unlikely,” she said.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said a second all stakeholders conference was due to be convened after the completion of the draft and again some disagreements could be expected.

She pointed out that already people like Vice-President John Nkomo were denouncing devolution in favour of decentralisation, while it was clear that a number of provinces wanted devolution.

“The making of the constitution is based on consensus of the three parties (Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC) and any disagreements will derail the process,” she said.

As it is, Misihairabwi-Mushonga said, the parties were yet to agree on the template to be used for the collation of data.

She also said holding a referendum in November, at the height of the rainy and farming season could prove to be a logistical nightmare and everyone was silent on the issue of resources.

On the holding of elections, she said those coming up with the next August date were not factoring in that little government work took place between December and January and this meant that the date for elections would be pushed further back.

“We lost the whole of last year arguing whether we will hold elections this year,” she said. “But some of us had already said it was not possible to hold elections this year. I do not want to be drawn into that again.”

Two months ago the negotiators came up with the roadmap, but reports suggest that Zanu PF was not happy with some of the details and its negotiators, Nicholas Goche and Patrick Chinamasa were subjected to tongue-lashing.

The party, which has been obstinately calling for polls this year, failed to hold its politburo meeting last week, a meeting which could have given pointers on Zanu PF’s feelings towards the latest efforts to have an electoral roadmap.

Hardliners within the party claim there is no need for an electoral roadmap, as it is already contained in the GPA, which created the inclusive government.

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