Zimbabwe will hold election in March 2013 - Tsvangirai
Harare - Zimbabwe's PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has insisted that the country will hold national elections in March 2013, indicating that he favours seeing through the five-year term for incumbent lawmakers.
The declaration by Tsvangirai is certain to stoke up tension in the three-year-old unity government that has been characterised by sharp differences.
The Prime Minister's call for elections next year is in direct contrast to President Robert Mugabe's impassioned demand for "a violence-free" election he wants held this year.
In an exclusive interview with The Financial Gazette, the Prime Minister brushed aside increasing pressure from within Zanu-PF to take the country to yet another election this year, as polarisation in Zimbabwe's violence-marred politics remains red-hot, a situation likely to threaten the conduct of credible elections.
Zanu-PF's conference held in December last year passed a resolution for elections this year, and party stalwarts have been itching to see through the resolution, which they have taken a notch further by threatening to hold an election in 2012, with or without a new constitution.
Tsvangirai this wee-k said: "Elections will be held at the outer limit, that is in March 2013 when the current term of the lawmakers would have constitutionally expired. There is still a lot of work to be done and we need to flatten the political space that at present is dominated by Zanu-PF."
He insisted: "It's just not possible to hold elections this year, there is no constitution and no referendum has been held."
An upbeat Tsvangirai told reporters that the "sticky points" of the new charter had been sorted out and his party would support a YES vote in the expected referendum.
He scoffed at moves by sections of the civic society such as the National Constitutional Assembly to mobilise against the proposed constitution, saying people's views should not be hijacked by the groups.
"All the sticky points are reflected in the draft constitution and the MDC is fully behind issues such as the devolution of power, dual citizenship and removal of one of the posts of vice-president", he said.
"Zanu-PF wants to maintain the two posts of vice-president for ethnic balancing as traditionally that post has been reserved for someone from Matabeleland region. We find having two posts as not only expensive, but also as placing a cap on the aspirations of the people from Matabeleland. Who said the people of Matabeleland must not aspire to be President and should always end at being vice-president?"