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Mugabe announces election date

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has announced the election date to be the 31st July, 2013.

The harmonised elections will bring an end to the Government of National Unity(GNU) which was set up after the 2008 disputed elections.

Mugabe argues that he had set elections for this date to respect the Consitutional Court judgement that said elections must be held by July 31.

What's interesting about that Consitutional Court judgement is that the consitution allows elections to be held up to four months after dissolution of Parliament which is up to 29 October, 2013.

By setting a deadline of 31st July, I think the court is actually rewriting the constitution to say that elections must be held one month after the dissolution of Parliament.

An earlier elections suits Mugabe very well because it means reforms that are meant to be done before the elections are not implemented as politicians go into campaign mode.

Also this early date means registration of voters does not go all the way to July 9. This is very important for Mugabe's party because the less registered voters the better for Zanu PF.

Also it must be remembered that Mugabe is 89 and is seeking another five year term and at that age he will not be able to run a rigorous campaign like he has done in the past.

Its hard to imagine Zanu PF winning an election where everybody eligible to vote is allowed to vote. People remember Zanu PF for the economic mess it created in 2007/08 where people literally lost everything in a hyper-inflation but in that environment the Zanu PF politicians got richer and richer.

I think at this stage its better for the GNU to go for even another month if that means that the elections are free and fair and there is a level playing field for all parties.

I hope that this date will be moved forward for the good of the people of Zimbabwe.

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