Africa

Zim election body needs $104m for referendum

Sapa-AFP

Zimbabwe's cash-strapped electoral commission needs $104-million to organise a referendum on a new constitution before the country can hold elections.

Zimbabwe's cash-strapped electoral commission needs $104-million to organise a referendum on a new constitution before the country can hold national elections. (AFP)

No referendum date has been set yet, but long-time President Robert Mugabe said he wants to hold it next month, which would pave way for a vote on a successor to the country's shaky coalition government. But the election body said it needs six weeks to make arrangements for the vote.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chief Joyce Kazembe said it was ready to hold a referendum if funds are made available.

In a court filing last week, Mugabe set out plans for the popular votes to be held in the next six months, listing a "referendum, expected to take place during the first week of November".

Zimbabwe is expected to hold new elections at some time next year, the first since a presidential run-off election in 2008 marred by violence.

The tense aftermath of the election forced Mugabe and long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai to form a power-sharing government in 2009 to avoid a tip into a full-fledged conflict.

In the pact which gave birth to the compromise government, the parties agreed to a raft of reforms and crafting a new charter before new elections.

A draft constitution negotiated by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, Tsvangirai's MDC party and a smaller MDC splinter group was finished in August.

The process was plagued by delays and violence at public meetings. – AFP

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