Monday, January 10, 2011

Zimbabwe Elections Delayed

President Robert Mugabe has angered hardliners in his fractious party by supporting recommendations by his deputy, Joice Mujuru, to shelve the controversial indigenization law and set aside plans to hold elections this year as the succession issue heats up in Zanu PF, The Zimbabwe Standard reported.

Mujuru, who is battling against Mnangangwa to succeed the 86-year-old leader, made the recommendations before the party's Mutare conference last month following consultations with the business community. "The notion was strengthened further when Mujuru attended the swearing in of the Brazilian woman President, Dilma Rousseff last week," said the source.

The sources said Zanu PF hardliners and the Mnangagwa faction pushed for an early election before and during the party's conference last December.

Just before the conference Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for the past three decades, had vowed that elections would be held before June this year with or without the new constitution.

Although the Mutare conference then resolved to hold elections this year without fail, Mugabe later heeded Mujuru's advice after coming under immense pressure from South African President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma in his capacity as the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) mediator in Zimbabwe is demanding extensive reforms to enable free and fair elections to be held in the country following the inconclusive 2008 polls.

Mugabe made the unusual about-turn after meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara soon after the conference, telling the nation that elections would be held after the crafting of the new supreme law.

"When Zanu PF went to the conference, they had two main objectives: Early elections and pushing the indigenization agenda. But talk of both slackened after Mugabe listened to Mujuru's advice. Hardliners are furious that he dumped all they had agreed on in Mutare in favor of Mujuru's recommendations," said one source.

Government has since frozen the controversial indigenisation law after admitting that it is discouraging the badly-needed foreign investment and political observers last week said it was highly unlikely that polls would be held this year, especially with reports emerging that the new constitution can only be finalized later in the year.

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