Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) principals are divided over whether the country should postpone the 2023 general elections, with one group pushing for the polls to be deferred while the other camp is adamant the Constitution should be upheld.
This comes after recent reports that MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora approached President Emmerson Mnangagwa and asked him to postpone the harmonised 2023 elections on the premise that they would be costly and divisive.
But speaking to NewsDay on Sunday, Republican Party of Zimbabwe, Kwanele Hlabangana, who is also a member of POLAD, said such calls were dangerous and should not be entertained. Said Hlabangana:
Those people that want the 2023 elections postponed are very dangerous because elections in any country are a constitutional matter, and we don’t hold elections based on the wishes of the people. We hold elections because we follow the Constitution.
I don’t see any argument or debate around elections because we have a Constitution in this country.
What sort of a country will we be running if we just decide that there are no elections? POLAD cannot have a different position to the constitutional position.
The only thing we are doing as POLAD is we are pushing for electoral reforms. We believe elections should not be disputed like the situation we had in 2018.
We want to have free and fair elections where the winners win and we don’t want excuses. We are working on all reforms, security reforms and everything to do with the Constitution.
Another POLAD member who preferred not to be named said elections were an exercise that would cost the country a lot and were divisive, hence the need to postpone them. Said the official:
That is a more progressive move that we are pushing (POLAD). We cannot be perpetually in election mode and with what we have achieved in POLAD, we are in the right direction, and so that should proceed.
Last week, National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku said POLAD was in Zimbabwe to stay as a permanent body.
He said it was an important platform to push for electoral reforms.