Robert Mugabe alone cannot decide when elections are held – US

HARARE – United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray says Zimbabweans must have a say on when and how the country should hold elections, a day after President Robert Mugabe said he may call for early polls.\r\n

Ray made the statement after handing over grants worth more than  US$100 000 to eight community based groups under the Ambassador’s Self Help Fund in Harare.

“The decision on elections or anything else to do with the fate of Zimbabwe has to rest in the hands of Zimbabweans. Ideally, that should be all Zimbabweans have a say on the fate of the country,” Ray told journalists.

“It really has to be left on Zimbabweans to decide when and how you should hold elections here.”

There has been heated debate in Zimbabwe on when the country should hold polls after Mugabe said he might call for general elections early before the constitutional making process ends.

Mugabe said this on his return from holiday on Sunday.

The constitution making process is part of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) road map to free and fair elections after disputed polls in 2008.

Meanwhile, the US government donated US$100 000 to support projects that include building classrooms, borehole drilling for communities to access clean water, horticulture and a wildlife and conservation project.

Beneficiaries of the US grants are Chinamora Secondary School, Kushinga nutritional garden, Kuvaka Ishungu, Kwayedza Secondary School, Muturi horticulture producers association, Nyangombe Wildlife project, Rupare High School and Tichakunda project in Hatcliffe.

Ray commended the community groups for coming  up with projects that are benefiting their communities.

“You all work tirelessly to improve the lives of those around you. We honour and commend you for your work,” Ray told the beneficiaries of the grants.

The US ambassador said his government has pumped in three million dollars since 1980 to support community groups to embark on projects like education, food aid, and income generating projects and improve water and sanitation. – Daily News