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Prime Minister Tsvangirai's MDC Insists on Reforms Before Fresh Zimbabwe Polls

President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the constitution signing ceremony
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party says democratic reforms should be implemented first ahead of this year's crucial polls.

Responding to a statement made in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday by the Southern African Development Community's executive secretary, Thomaz Salomao, that the regional bloc is waiting for Harare to announce election dates following the successful completion of the constitutional reform process, the MDC-T said SADC should push President Mugabe to implement media and security reforms first.

SADC leaders held an extra-ordinary summit to discuss Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe on the sidelines of the African Union general assembly in Addis Ababa Sunday.

‘‘The summit took note that the constitution making process has been endorsed by parliament ... it is time to put our minds as a region and support Zimbabwe to hold elections.

"Our position as Sadc is that the Constitution was concluded and the next step is the election, whether it’s held within one month, two months, three months or the next six months, it is up to those with the powers to decide," said Salamao.

“We are waiting to hear the ruling of the Supreme Court, and as Sadc we will be there to support . . . We are basically waiting for the announcement of the day of the election so that we move this process forward.”

The Supreme Court last week reserved judgment in a case in which an ordinary Zimbabwe wants President Mugabe to proclaim election dates around 29 June when the life of the current parliament expires.

President Mugabe has previously indicated elections should be held soon after June 29 but the MDC formations in the unity government say this is impossible as reforms have to be implemented first. They also charge much still needs to be done, for example, a fresh voter registration program in accordance with the new constitution, making it impossible to have an election in the first half of the year.

Spokesman Douglas Mwonzora of the Tsvangirai MDC says SADC knows Zimbabwe has a lot to do before a date for the elections is set.

Mwonzora adds President Mugabe cannot announce election dates without agreeing with the other unity government principals.

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