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After SADC Summit, Zimbabwe Prime Minister Tsvangirai Presses Call for Elections

  • Thomas Chiripasi

Tsvangirai said SADC leaders supported South African President Jacob Zuma's mediation report giving the parties in Harare a month to resolve outstanding issues and work towards a new constitution leading to fresh elections

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday briefed diplomats and civil society leaders in the wake of a Southern African Development Community summit in Windhoek, Namibia, earlier this week, pressing the view of his Movement for Democratic Change formation that elections are needed for a full transition to democracy.

Tsvangirai said SADC leaders supported South African President Jacob Zuma's mediation report giving the parties in Harare a month to resolve outstanding issues and work towards a new constitution leading to fresh elections.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara stepped into the debate over the outcome of the SADC summit, accusing Mr. Tsvangirai and his MDC formation of spinning the communiqué issued by the summit.

Mutambara said the time is not yet ripe for new elections to be held in Zimbabwe.

As reported, Southern African Development Community leaders this week again called for the West to lift sanctions on President Mugabe and members of his inner circle. Outgoing Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Sten Rylander added his voice to the debate saying he was sorry to leave Harare while those sanctions remained in place.

Speaking after bidding farewell to Vice President John Nkomo, the Swedish envoy said the sanctions should be removed, arguing that the West cannot maintain them much longer. U.S. Ambassador Charles Ray said the Global Political Agreement for power sharing must be implemented in full for the sanctions to be lifted.

For a closer look at the sanctions debate, VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira turned to program director Machinda Marongwe of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations and Joy Mabenge, manager of democracy and governance programs for the Institute for a Democratic Zimbabwe.

Marongwe said SADC leaders and others calling for Western targeted sanctions to be lifted must be realistic about conditions on the ground in Zimbabwe rather than calling for action on sanctions for its own sake.

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