posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com – January 18th, 2012
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF loyalists are now desperately pushing for elections to be held this year at all costs. But it is becoming increasingly clear that this is unlikely to happen as the constitution-making process and other reforms drag on.
Zanu-PF insiders say Mugabe and his inner circle, which includes political heavyweights such as Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zanu-PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo and members of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), are worried about the slow pace of political reform, mainly the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the constitution-making process, which may further delay polls into 2013.
At its annual conference in Bulawayo last month – where Mugabe was endorsed as its presidential candidate – Zanu- PF resolved to hold elections this year without fail.
Senior Zanu-PF officials told the Sunday Times this week that the current situation was now worrying Mugabe and his close advisers because if elections are delayed until 2013 the party would not have a viable candidate. Mugabe is a major risk because of his old age and ill health.
He returned home on Monday for meetings with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema after a holiday in the Far East, which he usually uses for medical treatment . Last year Mugabe visited Singapore more than a dozen times for prostate cancer treatment.
“The current situation is extremely worrying to the president and his advisers because a number of agreed GPA issues remain unimplemented and the constitution-making process is very slow,” a senior Zanu-PF official said.
“That’s why we are beginning to panic about elections. The problem is that we have resolved that elections must be held this year without fail but the political and electoral reform processes are dragging.
“The president is our best foot forward in the coming elections, but it all depends on the state of his health. It would be practically impossible to field him next year at 89, with his health deteriorating.”
Mugabe has been in power for 32 years. He is 88 next month.
Moyo said this week elections would be held this year. “If there’s one thing which can be said with absolute certainty about 2012 … it is that Zimbabwe will hold harmonised presidential, parliamentary and local government elections this year,” he wrote in the state-controlled Sunday Mail. “Make no mistake about it, 2012 is the year of our general election, come rain or shine.”
A senior Zanu-PF official said Mugabe and his loyalists were even considering pulling out the GPA and constitution-making process to force elections. Moyo described the constitution-making process – a prerequisite for polls – as “a dead and already stinking donkey”, warning polls would be held under the current constitution.
While GPA negotiators have finished talks, they have referred certain disputed issues to the facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma and the principals for a resolution.
Meanwhile, parliament has adjourned until the end of February . This means three important bills before the House of Assembly will not be dealt with for at another two months. They are the Electoral Amendment Bill, Human Rights Commission Bill and Public Order and Security Amendment Bill