Zimbabwe: No reforms for upcoming elections

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says that there have been no reforms to guarantee that upcoming July 31 polls in Zimbabwe will be free and fair. “There are no reforms in the media, and other reforms to ensure free and fair elections have not been achieved,” said Tsvangirai on Sunday as he launched his campaign against President Robert Mugabe.

07 Jul 2013,  AFP/ M&G online

Zimbabweans go to the polls in just over three weeks in a vote to end the unity government between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who were forced to share power after deadly clashes in the 2008 elections.

The southern African nation approved a new Constitution that limits presidential powers in a referendum in March.

But Mugabe unilaterally declared an early election date which the Constitutional Court on Thursday upheld despite pressure from regional mediators.

Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe on Friday launched his re-election campaign with a warning that Zimbabwe could withdraw amid demands for a free and fair vote.

“Let it be known that we are in SADC [the Southern African Development Community] voluntarily. If SADC decides to do stupid things, let it be known that we can withdraw from SADC,” he told a rally.

Defiant Mugabe

The regional bloc had pressed Mugabe to roll back his decision to hold elections on July 31, in order to allow time for reforms to the electoral roll and that would limit the military’s role in politics.

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that the election would go ahead, despite Mugabe’s request for a two-week delay.

But far from being bowed, a defiant Mugabe on Friday issued a fiery rallying call to supporters as he endeavours to extend his 33-year rule.

“You are our soldiers. You have a battle to fight. Go into the battle well-armed. “Go into the battle with the full knowledge that there is a political enemy. This is a do or die struggle. You are not just alone. Your victory will be our victory and your defeat, alas, will also be our defeat.”

“We want to succeed. We need a political life.” – AFP

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