Zimbabwe Elections Won’t Take Place in June, Tsvangirai Says

Zimbabwe won’t hold elections next month because President Robert Mugabe has not lived up to a pledge to guarantee a free and fair vote, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said.

“There appears to be a lack of political will on the part of President Mugabe and ZANU-PF to comply with agreed positions,” Tsvangirai said in an interview today with Bloomberg TV’s Ryan Chilcote at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town. “And if those agreed positions are not implemented, then we will have a soiled election environment.”

Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change said last month the military and police support Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party, and must be reformed before elections take place. Army Chief Constantine Chiwenga, a key Mugabe ally, said he won’t meet Tsvangirai to discuss the changes.

“I am very confident my party will win in a free and fair election,” Tsvangirai said.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai govern in a coalition established after they contested a disputed election in 2008. Elections scheduled for this year will end the power-sharing agreement implemented by the Southern African Development Community, which brought an end to a decade of political and economic crises that saw inflation rise to 500 billion percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Economic growth of 5 percent is targeted this year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last month.

‘No Consensus’

Zimbabwe, which has the world’s second-biggest platinum deposits, is preparing a law allowing it to seize controlling stakes in companies without compensation, according to a draft of the legislation.

The law would be an amendment to a 2007 act that compels foreign and white-owned companies in Zimbabwe, including units of Rio Tinto Plc, Sinosteel Corp. and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., to sell or cede 51 percent of their shares to black nationals or state-approved agencies. The law also affects banks including Barclays Plc and Standard Chartered Plc.

“There is no consensus on the indigenization laws,” Tsvangirai said. “The disputes arise out of the implementation. This is a disincentive for foreign direct investment.”

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