[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Last gasps of Zim's elite deal
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Thu Nov 22 07:31:21 GMT 2007
Progress on Zim election talks, but ...
21 November 2007 05:00
The leader of Zimbabwe's opposition said on Wednesday that talks with
his government over electoral reform have made progress, but added that
ensuring implementation will be crucial.
"I am confident that the agenda set through the [South Africa-led]
mediation will address the fundamental concerns around holding free and
fair elections," Morgan Tsvangirai said in an interview. "But we want to
translate those ideas on to something on the ground so people can feel
confident that the situation is safe; that there is a stop to violence."
During previous elections in Zimbabwe, opposition supporters have been
tortured and killed by government forces and supporters of the ruling
party. The country's economy is in meltdown, with the highest rate of
inflation in the world, and millions have fled abroad.
Tsvangirai said the talks have centred on constitutional and electoral
reform, but have stalled over freedom of assembly. He offered no further
Protests in Zimbabwe are frequently met with violence by the police, who
beat up and arrest demonstrators.
Tsvangirai participated in a public debate on Zimbabwe in Kampala on
Wednesday organised two days before a Commonwealth summit opens here by
the Royal Commonwealth Society.
He said his opposition Movement for Democratic Change might shun next
year's election unless it is sure President Robert Mugabe will not rig it.
"We have gone through three national elections and we know it is always
pre-determined," he said, adding: "We want free and fair elections ...
it will be suicidal to go through the ritual of elections to legitimise
He also called on Commonwealth leaders to monitor the talks mediated by
South African President Thabo Mbeki under Southern African Development
Community auspices and to ensure any future commitments are honoured.
Mugabe, a former guerrilla leader, has come under pressure to introduce
reforms or step down. The 83-year-old walked out of the Commonwealth in
2003 and has shown no desire of returning to the 53-nation body of
mostly former British colonies that he calls a stooge of British
Mbeki will briefly visit Zimbabwe on Thursday for talks with the
country's major political players, the Presidency said on Wednesday.
"President Mbeki's visit is aimed at deepening the process of dialogue,"
said his spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga on Wednesday.
The meeting in Harare is part of a "brief stopover" Mbeki will make on
his way to Uganda for a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Ratshitanga could not say to whom Mbeki would be talking. "He'll be
meeting representatives of the political leadership. It's not up to us
to decide who he meets." -- Sapa-AP, Sapa, Reuters
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