Accra, May 31, GNA - Professor Arthur Mutambara, Zimbabwe\'s Deputy Prime Minister, says elections would be conducted in Zimbabwe only after the country was ready in terms of national healing, economic and political reforms.
\"The debate should not be about when the next elections would be conducted in Zimbabwe, but the calibre and quality of the elections,\" he said.
Prof Mutambara was speaking to journalists in Accra at the end of the first session of Ghana-Zimbabwe Business Summit expected to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs from both countries to trade.
The summit, the second in the series since its inception in 2006, is under the theme: \"Intra-Africa Trade-The Way Forward for Africa\'s Global Competitiveness.\"
Prof Mutambara described the call for next year\'s general elections in Zimbabwe as premature, adding \"when you start talking about elections, you make people confrontational. It is distractive and unhelpful to the process of reforms.
\"We are busily working on national healing and a free and fair election. We are busily working on the national constitution, media, electoral, political and economic reforms. These are more important than calling for the next elections,\" he said.
Prof Mutambara, could not tell exactly when the elections would be held, but said it would not go beyond 2013.
Meanwhile, contrary to the assertion by Zimbabwe\'s Deputy Prime Minister, a report by Reuters posted on its website indicates that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday, May 27, said \"Zimbabwe\'s elections would go ahead next year, despite the infighting that continues to hamper the government\'s power-sharing agreement\".
According to Reuters, Premier Tsvangirai told a news conference in South Africa, during a trip to meet supporters that a date for the elections would be set after a national referendum.
Until the 2008 Parliamentary elections, Zimbabwe was effectively a one-party state, ruled by President Robert Mugabe\'s ZANU-PF but Zimbabwe\'s unity pact between President Mugabe and long-time rival, Premier Tsvangirai, has helped stem the economy\'s decade-long tumble. Nonetheless, squabbling within the coalition has held back progress and stood in the way of elections.