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German Parliamentarians Urge Southern Africa to Keep Pressure on Mugabe

German Ambassador to Zimbabwe Albrecht Conze said the parliamentary delegation in meetings with officials and activists stressed that Harare must closely follow the road map to elections now being drawn up

German parliamentarians visiting Zimbabwe said Wednesday that the Southern African Development Community must maintain pressure on President Robert Mugabe until the Global Political Agreement for power sharing has been fully implemented.

Concluding a two-day visit to Zimbabwe, Stefan Liebich, head of the delegation of the Southern African-German Friendship Group said South African President and regional mediator President Jacob Zuma must keep pressure on Mr. Mugabe to implement the GPA as a subset of regional leaders did at a mini-summit in Zambia in April.

Liebich said it was clear from meetings his group held with the co-governing Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and human rights activists that Mr. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party is the primary source of political violence.

He said his group disagrees with the ZANU-PF proposal to hold elections this year.

Liebich’s delegation also held a meeting with ZANU-PF Chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and told reporters that the party chief complained about Western sanctions and so-called pirate radio stations such as VOA's Studio 7 broadcasting to Zimbabwe from abroad.

Liebich said his group told Moyo that sanctions do not target ordinary Zimbabweans but only those considered to be derailing the democratic process in the country.

German Ambassador to Zimbabwe Albrecht Conze added that the delegation returned to Zimbabwe with renewed interest in the country’s political and social development.

Conze said that the delegation in meetings with officials and civic activists stressed that Harare must closely follow the road map to elections now being drawn up.

The ambassador told reporter Tatenda Gumbo that issues having to do with the removal of European sanction will not addressed until reforms are fully implemented.

Meanwhile, following the conclusion of ZANU-PF's anti-sanctions petition drive, which organizers say collected more than 2.5 million signatures, the party says it is launching a massive lobbying campaign against the restrictions imposed on President Mugabe and some 200 other senior officials of the former ruling party by Western nations.

Organizers said they will take the anti-sanctions petition to the Southern African Development Community, the African Union, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the International Court of Justice, among other institutions.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the aim is to lobby such organizations to issue resolutions against the sanctions, which the party says hurts all Zimbabweans.

Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, head of the smaller MDC formation in government, told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that although sanctions have a negative impact on the Zimbabwean economy, ZANU-PF may not succeed in its mission because it is not working with the other co-governing political parties on the issue as agreed.

Elsewhere, a high court judge today said state prosecutors in the corruption case against Energy Minister Elton Mangoma could again question their key witness on points that arose during his cross-examination by Mangoma’s defense team.

Mangoma is accused of improperly awarding a US$5 million fuel contract to a company in South Africa. The MDC says the charges against him are politically inspired.