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Traction Elusive for Zimbabwe Civic Activists Lobbying African Summit in Uganda

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Both President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the main Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have signaled recently that they are ready for elections next year

Zimbabwean civil society groups are having some trouble gaining traction on their issues at the African Union summit in Kampala, Uganda, where they have been urging the continental body to press the Zimbabwean government to implement major electoral reforms ahead of national elections some see taking place next year.

Civic activists have warned the AU that the kind of deadly violence seen in 2008 elections could recur in a 2011 ballot.

Both President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the main Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have signaled recently that they are ready for elections next year.

Groups working under the umbrella of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition lobbied the AU secretariat last week to start preparing the ground work for Zimbabwe’s elections to make sure they are free and fair.

But the summit has been dominated by security issues, notably civil war-torn Somalia and Uganda, where 74 people died in bombings on July 11 for which the Somali rebel group Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility.

The Zimbabwean groups say they will deliver the same message regarding possible 2011 elections to a Southern African Development Community meeting in mid-August in Namibia.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition South African Coordinator Dewa Mavhinga told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the AU and SADC, guarantors of the 2008 Global Political Agreement that provided the basis for the national unity government set afoot in Zimbabwe in early 2009, must implement strategies to ensure a successful ballot.

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