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Zimbabweans should brace for elections in the Absence of Reforms

On Friday the 30th of March 2012 President Mugabe again announced that the country will be holding general elections this year with or without a new constitution and demanded that constitutional reform should be completed by May or he calls election under the current Lancaster constitution.

Such a pronouncement came after Mugabe's spokesperson, George Charamba, said that the Parliamentary Constitutional Committee (COPAC) has only produced draft of drafts and they are yet to come up with a final constitutional draft document to present to the Principals of the inclusive government for approval as a draft constitution. This is in direct contrast with the statement by Douglas Mwonzora, MDC-T spokesperson, who announced that the country should expect a constitution draft within 10 Days.

Basing on Charamba's utterances it is apparent that Zanu PF does not accept and will not recognise the work that has been done by COPAC up to this date. According to Charamba, who speaks Mugabe's views, some clauses in the constitution attempt to turn Zimbabwe into a ""¦non state governed by International players." Such is the thinking in Zanu PF circles and it raises a lot of doubt whether Mugabe's Zanu PF will approve the draft constitution and subject it to a referendum.

It is clear that the rival parties in the Unity Government are at loggerheads here and given Zanu PFs do it alone attitude and its tendency to adopt unilateral decisions it's highly likely that Zanu PF will reject the draft constitution meaning there will be no referendum and the country will revert to the Lancaster House Constitution like what Mugabe has already hinted and Zanu PF will call for elections this year. Mugabe's declaration shows how he undermines the Global Political Agreement and how he has reverted to absolute unilateral tendencies.

It has become obvious that Zanu PF is hell bent on pushing for elections this year for a very strong reason.

President Mugabe is reportedly out of the country in Singapore on a private visit. Although officially it is said that he is trying to secure a postgraduate studies place for his daughter it is highly probable that the visit could be health related. Mugabe is reportedly suffering from prostate cancer and he has had a lot of frequent visits to Singapore lately. Zanu PF could be pushing for elections so that they can, through dubious means, secure the presidency and retain Mugabe as the President just in time for him to leave a successor. Wikileaks released a 2008 diplomatic cable by Gideon Gono the Reserve Bank Governor in which he reported that Mugabe is suffering from prostate cancer and the doctors gave him 5 years. Basing on the Wikileaks cable, it is obvious that the issue of finding a successor in Zanu PF has become a race against time hence the fierce push and emphasis on elections before the five years run out.

Money seems not to be the problem for Zanu PF given the "veil of secrecy" surrounding mining operations, marketing and sale of diamonds in the Marange area. The Finance Ministry had projected US$77.5 million as revenue from diamonds, and out of this, treasury only received a mere US$19.5 million in January and February. The state officially has no clue as to know how much money is being generated from diamond exports and this money is reportedly being channeled to Zanu PF's coffers to support campaigning for elections and sponsoring the unleashing of terror on opposition members. The diamond mines are owned by the Chinese and Zanu PF allies and possibly heavyweights and naturally they will provide financial resources for the survival and wellbeing of their economic interests.

We are inevitably heading for elections and given Zanu PFs track record we should brace for a violent era once again in our lives. There is need for Zimbabweans to be united in their hope for a democratic Zimbabwe. People should go out in their number to register to vote, only numbers will defeat the rigging machinery. International community should play its role to ensure democracy for the sake of humanity.

By Jabulani Sikula, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Office

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