Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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ZEC Chief in the Dark on Election Date

ZEC Chief in the Dark on Election Date

Harare, June 30, 2012- Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chairperson 
Simpson Mtambanengwe says he is in the dark on when the country’s next 
elections will be held.

Mtambanengwe told a meeting of civic society groups this week that he is 
just like many Zimbabweans in the dark about the election date.

He said his office is working on speculation in preparing for the eagerly 
awaited plebiscite which President Robert Mugabe ad his Zanu PF party says 
should be held this year.

“When I came from Namibia in 2010 to take up this appointment it was 
envisaged that the constitutional referendum will happen in July but now two 
years down the line and we are approaching another July and the 
constitutional draft has not gone before the principals and even if it does 
there are certain steps that has to happen and one of them is the All 
Stakeholders Conference,” said Mtambanengwe.

“I can tell and my honest answer is that we don’t know when elections will 
happen, we are only waiting and speculating.”

Further pressed on what he will do if his commission is forced to organise 
an election in an environment which is not free and fair the former Namibian 
High Court judge told the gathering that he will cross the bridge when he 
gets to it.

“If it comes to a crunch time, where we say do we stand by the principle or 
we succumb to being bulldozed into conducting an election you know will not 
be free and fair, that choice we will make when we get to that position,” 
said Mtambanengwe.

Mtambanengwe himself a war veteran also took the opportunity of the meeting 
to implore the country’s liberation war heroes who have often been 
implicated in acts of political violence to live by the ideals of the 
country’s war of liberation by safeguarding people freedoms and democracy.

“Political violence is sometimes associated with ex-combatants or war 
veterans, we forget that in bringing liberation to this country those of us 
who were involved as leaders in the struggle, actually taught them (violence 
perpetrators) the philosophy of violence with the slogan that power comes 
from the barrel of the gun and we continued with the ideas that you want 
something you must use force,” said Mtambanengwe.

“We have to start re-educating them to say if you fought for freedom and 
democracy and you go and force someone to vote the way you want and not the 
way he or she wants are you abiding by the principals which motivated you to 
sacrifice your life for the liberation of Zimbabwe. It’s a hard lesson to 
teach, it takes time.”

Mtambanengwe said he holds probably the most difficult job in the country 
because of the pressure that usually comes with elections in the country.

“As chairman of ZEC I am very much at the receiving end, I include my fellow 
commissioners because we have a very awful responsibility. In the context of 
peace, we bear a very heavy responsibility.

“Someone at the beginning of my tour of duty as chairperson of the 
commission said something very profound and that without God’s intervention 
you can’t do it. I believe so, the duty that has been put on our shoulders 
is a heavy duty particularly in the context of Zimbabwe,” he said. 


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