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Tsvangirai urges reforms before poll

Harare - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday called for peace and demanded political reforms before any election to replace a coalition government with his long-time rival, President Robert Mugabe.

“There must be a non-violent environment so that people vote in a free and fair vote,” Tsvangirai said while addressing hundreds of workers marking Workers’ Day at Gwanzura Stadium in Harare.

(File image) Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Credit: Reuters

“Elections must not reproduce the 2008 scenario where Tsvangirai wins but cannot form a government, that we will not accept.”

“This unity government must be ended by a process which was agreed by SADC (Southern African Development Community), there must be a new constitution, there must be a referendum, a new voters roll,” he added.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe formed a coalition government in February 2009 after a disputed presidential poll run-off in June 2008.

Tsvangirai, who won the first round of the vote in March 2008, pulled out of the run-off after citing violence against his supporters.

The prime minister's Movement for Democratic Change has said over 200 supporters and officials of the party were murdered during the presidential run-off. The party blamed the violence on Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Mugabe, who has ruled the country since 1980 when the country won its independence, continues to insist that elections will be held this year while Tsvangirai says reforms are a condition to guarantee a free and fair vote.

The southern African country is currently drafting a new constitution which will go to a referendum before elections, according to the political agreement brokered by SADC to form a coalition government. - Sapa-AFP

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