HARARE – Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the country must go to the polls on July 31, throwing out five appeals – including that of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai – for a postponement.
In a unanimous decision late Thursday, the Constitutional Court – the country’s highest court – upheld a proclamation by President Robert Mugabe on June 13 to end the 5-year-old Government of National Unity (GNU) and go for polls on July 31, a month after the expiry of the coalition’s term which ended on June 29.
The nine-member court said it would give reasons for its unanimous decision – which is likely to rile Tsvangirai and the other party in the GNU, Industry Minister Welshman Ncube and the civic society – next week.
The court’s ruling is final and comes in the wake of frantic campaigning by all the country’s major political parties. Five Zimbabweans, including Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Ncube, last week filed papers to contest the Presidential position.
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, in power since independence in 1980, launches its election manifesto Friday (July 5, 2013) at the historic Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield. The party has lined-up a full day programme that includes entertainment by some of the country’s top selling musicians Jah Pryzah and Suluman Chimbetu.
Tsvangirai, on the other hand, has been on a whirl-wind campaign tour of the country addressing thousands of supporters, traditional and business leaders, as well as appealing for a peaceful poll.
The July 31 poll ends a fractious coalition government which Mugabe this week said had not worked but which many praise for bringing stability to the country’s economy and reigning in rampant inflation which at one time was the highest in the world.