In an opportunistic move set to trigger a political storm ahead of crucial general elections, President Robert Mugabe is making back-door manoeuvres through the High Court to secure an order declaring polls be held by or on June 29, as Zanu PF increasingly sweats over its uncertain political fate. During this past week Mugabe and his Zanu PF officials have been strenuously lobbying for elections to be held by June 29, citing constitutional and legal grounds — dismissed by their political rivals and lawyers as expedient intrigues. Zanu PF insiders say Mugabe and his loyalists now desperately want polls by June as fears mount the 89-year old leader, who recently made a veiled admission to growing senility and frailty, might struggle to sustain rigorous election campaigns. In terms of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and elections roadmap, Mugabe is required to proclaim election dates in consultation with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Taking advantage of the on-going case of three by-elections in Matabeleland in which he is expected to proclaim dates by Sunday, Mugabe has filed an urgent application in the High Court seeking, in effect, to be excused from proclaiming the dates for the by-elections by March 31 as directed by Judge-President, Justice George Chiweshe on October 2 last year.
That followed a Supreme Court order initially directing Mugabe to proclaim by-election dates by August 30 last year. Mugabe’s application, through Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, is due to be heard by Chiweshe at the High Court in Harare today at 10 am.
Chinamasa says in the application, following the “Yes” vote in the March 16 constitutional referendum, parliament is expected to finish passing the new constitution by May 8 after which a proclamation on general elections will be gazetted immediately.