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Southern African Grouping Concludes Zimbabwe Pre-Vote Assessment

A pre-election assessment mission sent to Harare by the Southern African Development Community has submitted a preliminary report on the situation in Zimbabwe with less than four weeks to go to elections.

Senior SADC official Tanki Mothae, director of its committee on politics, defense and security affairs, declined to disclose the report's contents, but said it will become the foundation of the final report SADC will issue after the March 29 elections.

Despite SADC’s activities and the impending arrival of SADC member nation observers on Sunday, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has accredited no local election observers. Foreign organizations such as the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa and the SADC Parliamentary Forum have not received invitations from Harare.

Both those organizations were barred from observing the 2005 parliamentary elections. President Robert Mugabe has stated that his government will not invite observers from countries or organizations it considers hostile.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network Board Member Wellington Mbofana told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that civic groups still hope that independent regional and local observers will be admitted before the elections.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...