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Tsvangirai Calls For More Reforms Ahead of Polls

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday met the African Union observer mission to Zimbabwe and renewed his call for the implementation of key democratic reforms before elections are held.

Mr. Tsvangirai met the African Union observer mission at his charter house offices and briefed them on the political situation in the country.

The premier’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka told reporters after the meeting that Mr. Tsvangirai is insisting that key democratic reforms be implemented to guarantee free and fair elections.

The AU mission's head, Chirambo Kondwani, refused to take questions from journalists.

Mr. Tsvangirai's demand for the implementation of reforms before elections are held was supported by SADC at its June 15th summit held in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, where the regional bloc urged Harare to create a conducive environment for the holding of credible polls.

The prime minister also met church leaders who expressed concern about the confusion surrounding the date of the election.

President Robert Mugabe declared July 31 as the date for national elections and has made a Constitutional Court application to delay the polls by two weeks to August 14. For his part, Mr. Tsvangirai says in papers filed with the Constitutional Court yesterday that the two week delay that President Mugabe wants is insufficient for reforms to take effect.

Chairman of the heads of Christian denominations, Goodwill Shana, told reporters after meeting the premier that the election date should be decided by consensus given the controversy it has generated.

The Constitutional Court is Wednesday expected to hear a number of cases that have a bearing on the election date.

Shana said the church is also worried by cases of politically motivated violence being reported in some parts of the country ahead of this year’s elections, adding the church intends to meet with all political parties to ensure a repeat of the 2008 scenario.

Shana urged political parties to work towards peace and ensure that violence does not explode ahead of the polls.