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British PM Cameron Pledges to Push for Free Elections in Zimbabwe

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Mr. Cameron and Mr. Tsvangirai agreed it was essential for South Africa and other Southern African Development Community countries to lead the way in pushing for constitutional reforms which would ensure fair elections in Zimbabwe

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday pledged to push the international community to insist Zimbabwe holds a free and fair election to avoid the 2008 run-off situation where violence was unleashed on opposition supporters.

Mr. Cameron spoke during a meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the House of Commons in London.

The two agreed it was essential for South Africa and other Southern African Development Community countries to lead the way in pushing for constitutional reforms which would ensure fair elections in Zimbabwe.

In a statement, Mr. Cameron praised what he said were Mr Tsvangirai's attempts to bring about economic reforms in Zimbabwe.

The statement said the two leaders “discussed the prospects for holding elections in Zimbabwe at the right time” and “both agreed that the international community should insist on constitutional reforms before the elections”.

Cameron vowed Britain would fully support the efforts, but said it was “critical for South Africa” and neighboring countries to take the lead.

“The Prime Minister re-stated how passionate he was about wanting Zimbabwe to succeed and commended the MDC on progress made on the economy,” read the statement.

“Tsvangirai thanked the Prime Minister for British aid, which he said was being channeled directly to those who needed it most,” it added.

Mr. Tsvangirai was in London to attend an African business summit.

President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party have said they want elections to be held this year with or without a new constitution. But the two MDC formations are insisting on key reforms first.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA's Jonga Kandemiiri that his party will not lose sleep over Cameron’s statements or his meeting with Mr. Tsvangirai.

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