GUTTED OPPOSITION PARTIES TOLD TO FORGET GNU
Zimbabwe will not have a Government of National Unity (GNU) and political parties should ready themselves for harmonised elections slated for next year, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary, Mr George Charamba has said.
This comes as out of sorts opposition political parties and their proponents have been advocating a GNU since the resignation of former president Mugabe last week.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa was subsequently sworn-in as Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces last Friday.
Mr Charamba yesterday said elections—which should be held by August 21, 2018—would proceed as constitutionally scheduled.
“There has been a lot of speculation on whether or not there will be a Government of National Unity,” he said.
“If you look at the schedule for elections we are about plus or minus six months before they are held and certainly it would not make sense to talk about GNU for those remaining months. Parties must ready themselves for elections, which will take place as per our schedule.”
Mr Charamba said the elections would “determine the aftermath”.
“The President is aware of expressions of readiness to work with him and his party in the context of Government but there is this overbearing time factor which forbids any such considerations,” he said.
“So we will go for elections.”
In his inauguration speech, President Mnangagwa stated that elections would go ahead as scheduled adding that they should be held peacefully.
Mr Charamba also clarified the misunderstanding in some quarters surrounding President Mnangagwa’s assumption of office in light of the new Constitution.
The Constitution states that a President must serve two-term limits of five years.
Mr Charamba said the succession route was clearly spelt out under Sections 101(1) (a) and 91(2) of the Constitution.
Section 101(1) (a) stipulates that “If the President dies, resigns or is removed from office, the first President assumes office as President until the expiry of the former President’s term of office.”
In the same vein, Section 91(2) states that “A person is disqualified for election as President or Vice President if he or she has already held office as President under this Constitution for two terms, whether continuous or not, and for the purpose of this subsection three or more years’ service is deemed to be a full term.”
Said Mr Charamba: “Simple mathematics would indicate that the new President is fated to serve for at the most six months of his predecessor’s term, which means in terms of the Constitution you cannot classify him as having done his first term. The real count down comes after the 2018 elections.”
Preparations for the elections are at an advanced stage with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission having registered more than three million people.
The electoral body is targeting seven million voters. On the other hand, the Register General’s Office is carrying out a registration blitz for people to obtain requisite identification documents ahead of the polls.