SADC summit on Zim elections

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iol newsp ic Zimbabwe election posters REUTERS Election campaign posters are pictured near Zimbabweans walking on a street blocked by uncollected garbage in Harare. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Johannesburg - The South African government has confirmed that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will hold an extraordinary summit in Pretoria on Saturday to discuss Zimbabwe’s readiness for presidential and legislative elections on July 31.

The troika of the SADC’s organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation will meet amid growing concerns that Zimbabwe is not prepared for the crucial polls, which will end the four-year-old coalition government.

Last month, the SADC asked Zimbabwe to postpone the voting to allow more time for reforms and preparations, but Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court rejected the request.

This week there have been reports of widespread chaos in the special voting, mainly for officials who will be on duty on July 31. This has raised doubts about the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s technical competence to cope with the far greater volume of voters in the full election.

The SADC’s demands for deeper reforms to ensure the public media and security sector remain politically neutral have also been ignored by President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF which retain a stranglehold on power, even though Zanu PF ostensibly shares power with the two Movement for Democratic Parties.

President Jacob Zuma, as the SADC’s mediator of the Zimbabwe negotiations, will host the meeting and report to his peers.

Officials said that fellow troika members, Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete and Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba were also expected to attend, as well as Mozambican president Armando Guebuza, who now chairs the SADC.

Saturday Star

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