Zimbabwe parties reject poll deadline
06 June 2013, 08:51
Johannesburg - Five main rivals of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday rejected an election deadline set by the country's top court.
Constitutional Court last week ordered Mugabe to set a date before the
end of July for crucial elections, which will end the long serving
ruler's uncomfortable four-year power-sharing government with his top
rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
leaders of five political parties, including Tsvangirai, "expressed
reservations about the practicality" of the deadline given the gamut of
reforms still to be made to ensure a credible poll.
The court's decision last Friday was in response to a case brought by a journalist and democracy activist, Jealousy Mawarire.
a statement after a meeting in Harare, the five leaders said the
court's action "ironically supposedly informed by the desire to
safeguard the rights of the individual applicant, has resulted in the
infringement of the rights of millions of Zimbabweans."
court's decision to bring elections forward has played into the hands of
Mugabe, who has always wanted to have early elections.
Mugabe had wanted elections by the end of the current parliamentary term on 29 June.
his opponents are pushing for a later date to allow more time for all
major reforms to be effected to guarantee a free and fair vote.
One of their main complaints is inadequate time for voter registration.
They also want security and media laws they say infringe on free political activity to be changed before the vote.
institutions - which are widely seen as pro-Mugabe - need to be
reformed to abide by the new constitution, which forbids partisanship,
said the leaders.
Human Rights Watch has urged the country's
power-sharing government to "rein in the security forces and keep them
out of politics if the elections are going to have any meaning".
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