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Zimbabwe Opposition Urges African Union Election Monitoring In 2008


The faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change headed by MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday submitted a position paper to an African Union summit urging AU monitoring of Zimbabwe's upcoming elections.

Human rights activists also submitted documents to the AU summit in Accra, Ghana, as foreign ministers completed the agenda for heads of state meeting Sunday.

The MDC faction urged the African leadership to send monitors to Zimbabwe well in advance of a series of elections beginning in Zimbabwe in 2008. The elections begin with local council elections in January followed by parliamentary and presidential elections in March in which President Robert Mugabe, 83, seeks re-election.

Deputy Treasurer Elliot Mangoma of the Tsvangirai MDC faction, told reporter Carole Gombakomba from Accra that the formation believes the African Union heads of state and government will give its request serious consideration.

Though Zimbabwe is not officially on the agenda for the AU's top officials on Sunday, activists say that the crisis could come up in their discussions through examination of a report by the African Commission on Human and People's Rights.

On Thursday evening in Accra, human rights lawyer Andrew Makoni and journalist Gift Phiri, arrested by Zimbabwean authorities and, in Phiri’s case, alleged to have been beaten by police, gave testimony to hundreds of civic activists from around Africa.

Legal Officer Wilbert Mandinde of the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa said the rights groups groups submitted resolutions to the summit because recent incidents of alleged unlawful arrests and police brutality were not contained in the report to be delivered by the AU's rights commission.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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