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European NGOs Urge Zimbabwean Military to Let Democratic Process Unfold

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said it is not unusual for former military officers to play a role in politics, but in Zimbabwe the army and other security services have adopted a highly partisan role

The Zimbabwe Europe Network or ZEN has endorsed the stance adopted last week by the Friends of Zimbabwe, a diplomatic coalition, calling for Zimbabwe to fully implement reforms set in the Global Political Agreement before pushing for new elections.

ZEN, uniting non-governmental organizations to monitor European Union-Zimbabwean relations, said Harare needs a clear roadmap to free and fair elections.

ZEN called for the Zimbabwean military and security forces to remain neutral and not meddle in politics or elections as the democratic process unfolds. The group said it is the general consensus among European civil society that due to the prevailing political environment in the country Zimbabwe is not ready for elections this year.

The organization did however say that it wants the Friends of Zimbabwe to provide for the forgiveness of Zimbabwean foreign debt - a move not endorsed by the diplomatic group which includes the United States, Britain and France, among others

ZEN Coordinator Tor Olsen said reports of an increased military presence around the country show there is need for security sector reform.

Olsen told VOA Studio 7 reporter Tatenda Gumbo that ZEN wants Europe and the international community to press Harare for reforms.

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said it is not unusual for former military officers to play a role in politics, but in Zimbabwe the army and other security services have adopted a highly partisan role backing President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party.

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