Zuma cannot push for elections in Zimbabwe – Tsvangirai

Zuma is charged with the task of facilitating the resolution of issues threatening the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that created the Zimbabwe’s power sharing government last year, and he is pushing for elections next year.

‘President Zuma cannot push for elections in Zimbabwe,’ Tsvangirai told the German Press Agency dpa. ‘The elections in Zimbabwe will be defined by the GPA. The GPA says after the referendum the president and prime minister will set the date for the election.’

Tsvangirai said that once ongoing talks produce a draft constitution, a referendum would be held to endorse it, and only then would a date be set for elections.

‘So I think that people should not preempt a process which is already there and which is understood by all parties to be the law,’ he added.

Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe formed a coalition government nearly a year ago to end a political crisis following an inconclusive election in June 2008.

The government has stabilized Zimbabwe’s economy and ended the hyperinflation that reigned at the height of the country’s economic meltdown.

As a result living conditions for many ordinary Zimbabweans have greatly improved compared to 2008 when the country battled shortages of cash, fuel and basic commodities.

But unending bickering between Mugabe’s ZANU(PF) and Tsvangirai’s MDC as well as the coalition government’s inability to secure direct financial support from Western nations have held back the administration’s efforts to rebuild the economy.

The MDC wants Mugabe, among other things, to fire central bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, saying their appointments were unconstitutional.

Mugabe’s party on the other hand has accused the MDC of reneging on its commitment to persuade the US and the European Union to lift travel bans and asset freezes against its leaders imposed in 2002 following a spate of human rights abuses and repression targeting the opposition.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called for the standoff to end. In a meeting of the regional economic grouping’s leaders in Mozambique last Thursday, SADC praised Zuma’s efforts to revive the flagging unity government.