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Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe Threatens to Dissolve Parliament & Call Elections

Published on Wednesday 26th January 2011 Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe Threatens to Dissolve Parliament & Call Elections

Robert Mugabe has threatened to dissolve parliament and prepare the country for elections, if the coalition government doesn't come to an agreement on when to have the poll.

Mugabe made the comments on his return to Zimbabwe on Sunday after his end of year break.

He strongly denied having had any emergency surgery in Malaysia, insisting he was in Singapore on holiday. The 86 year old reportedly looked fit and healthy, calling reports of his surgery "naked lies."

Mugabe meanwhile also threatened to revert to the old constitution, which gives him rights as the country's President to dissolve parliament, if there is no agreement on when to have elections. Mugabe wants elections as soon as possible, and has repeatedly voiced his desire for the unity government to come to an end.

On the other hand Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for elections only when a new constitution is in place, a process that will still take most of this year.

Mugabe has accused the MDC of stalling on the new constitution as a ploy to delay the election date. But his weekend threats to dissolve parliament clearly demonstrate that he still wields of the balance of power in the coalition government.

"I have the constitutional right - in the absence of the GPA position regarding the constitutional process - to cause an election to be held on the basis of the old constitution," Mugabe said.

He added: "If they (MDC) don't want the constitutional process I will have parliament dissolved and go to elections."

Lovemore Madhuku, who heads the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that Mugabe's comments are not surprising, "because this has always been the intention of ZANU PF."

Madhuku explained that, because Mugabe was sworn in as President before the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), he is allowed to dissolve parliament and call for an election if the GPA is dissolved.

"The drafters of the GPA did not take away the fact that the President was President in terms of the pre-existing electoral framework (in 2008), though defective, though controversial," Madhuku said.

The NCA leader continued by saying that legally, Mugabe cannot make good on his threats while the shaky unity government is still in place, but he warned that, politically, "this is not difficult."

"Mugabe himself can engineer it," Madhuku said. "Politically this will cause chaos, but legally he is within his provisions as President to do so."

The coalition government between ZANU PF and the two formations of the MDC, has been steadily crumbling since it was formed in 2009. Mugabe and his party have refused to abide by the terms of the GPA and both formations of the MDC have been rocked by divisions and infighting.

Most recently, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara lost his position as President of the smaller MDC faction, which is now led by Welshman Ncube. He has also been effectively demoted from his Deputy Prime Minister role, after being 'redeployed' to become the Minister of Regional Integration and International Co-operation.

But the NCA's Madhuku explained on Tuesday that Mutambara is still legally the Deputy Prime Minister, because, once again, it is Mugabe who will have the final say. Madhuku said that "Mugabe will have to fire Mutambara if he does not agree to resign voluntarily."

"If Mutambara does not agree to resign, then (Welshman) Ncube must persuade Mugabe to fire Mutambara as Deputy Prime Minister," the NCA leader said, adding that Mugabe will make the decision at his own leisure.

He continued: "Everything is at his (Mugabe's) disposal and he will act on what will politically benefit himself and his party."

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