Mugabe Negotiating a "Mini-General Election"

Harare,- President Robert Mugabe has requested the High Court to give him more time to mobilise resources to hold what he described as a 'mini general election' in which all the vacant seats in parliament, senate and local authorities would be contested.

He made this passionate plea in the High Court when he filed an urgent chamber application on Tuesday in which he explained why he had failed to comply with the Supreme Court order which had directed the aged leader to call for by-elections in three Matabeleland constituencies.

Mugabe, through one of his lieutenants, Patrick Chinamasa, who is Justice and Legal Affairs Minister, asked for an extension of time from August 30 to October 01 so he could stage the elections.

Chinamasa, the Zanu (PF) deputy secretary for legal affairs, argued Mugabe had failed to call for the by-elections on time because of his busy schedule and circumstances beyond his control, which he did not elaborate.

Three legislators, who were expelled from Professor Welshman’s Ncube’s MDC party namely, Norman Mpofu, Abednico Bhebhe and Njabuliso Mguni took Mugabe to court in 2010 demanding the staging of by-elections in their constituencies.

In July, the Supreme Court confirmed a High Court order that the Zanu (PF) leader should call by-elections in three Matabeleland constituencies by the end of August. The order came after Mugabe had appealed against High Court Judge, Justice Nicholas Ndou’s decision in October last year ordering him to ensure by-elections for Nkayi South, Bulilima East and Lupane East were held, as they were constitutionally long overdue.

Justice Ndou granted the legislator’s application last year. However, Mugabe through Chinamasa lodged a Supreme Court appeal, which was opposed by the former lawmakers’ lawyer Ndabezinhle Mazibuko, a member of influential rights group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights member and which was dismissed in July. – Radio VOP