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Pressure Mounts On Zimbabwe's Mugabe Not To Call For 2011 Elections


Zimbabwe civic groups, under the banner of the Zimbabwe Europe Network, are lobbying European Union diplomats in Brussels to dissuade Mr Mugabe from calling early elections without instituting broad reforms

Pressure is mounting on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe not to call for an election this year as his ZANU-PF party has demanded.

Zimbabwe civic groups, under the banner of the Zimbabwe Europe Network, are lobbying European Union diplomats in Brussels to dissuade Mr Mugabe from calling early elections without instituting broad reforms.

The civic groups are also holding public meetings in London, Copenhagen and other capitals to raise the issue, saying an election held in the absence of the necessary reforms would produce the same outcome as the disputed 2008 bloody poll.

The groups in Brussels include Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the NGOs umbrella-body in Zimbabwe, NANGO, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO-Forum.

The civic groups last week met the Southern African Development Community and pleaded with the secretariat to call upon Mr Mugabe to push elections to next year at least.

Southern African Catholic bishops, among other groups, said this week that conditions in Zimbabwe are not yet conducive for elections.

Facilitators working on behalf of South African President Jacob Zuma, SADC mediator in Harare, in Zimbabwe this week, are said to be pushing for an elections roadmap with a clear timetable before a date is set for the polls.

The Zuma team met the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Welshman Ncube Wednesday and were to meet officials of the MDC formation of Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday.

Mr Tsvangirai has said his formation will not take part in elections if they are called unilaterally before reforms have been instituted.

Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reporter Blessing Zulu that the party will press for key electoral reforms and an elections date.

Political analyst Earnest Mudzengi says that if properly coordinated, pressure on Mr Mugabe can work.

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