Zimbabwe

SA pushes for month delay in Zim polls

2013-07-01 12:15

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Zimbabwe journalists win free speech victory
Zimbabwe journalists win free speech victory

Two Zimbabwean journalists have won a victory for free speech when the Constitutional Court struck off a statute which made defamation a crime punishable by up to 20 years.

Cape Town - South Africa wants Zimbabwe to postpone elections by at least a month to allow for the government to implement "basic reforms" to ensure free and fair elections, according to a Bloomberg report.

President Robert Mugabe set the election date for 31 July after the Constitutional Court ordered him to hold elections by the end of July. This caused an outcry from his political foes who accused him of attempting to push through a vote before reforms that would clean up the electoral roll, free the media and limit the military's political role.

The Southern African Development Community, which brokered an agreement that led to a coalition government after disputed elections five years ago, has asked authorities to apply to the Constitutional Court to defer the vote.

The regional group is "hoping the court will be sensitive to the process of the resolution of some of the tensions in the build-up to elections," Lindiwe Zulu, an adviser to South African President Jacob Zuma and a member of SADC’s facilitation team for the elections, said.

US President Barack Obama called on Saturday for Zimbabwe's government to stop harassing its citizens and to implement reforms ahead of the landmark elections.

"Harassment of citizens and groups needs to stop and reform needs to move forward so people can cast their votes in elections that are fair and free and credible," he said during a visit to South Africa.

Zimbabwe's current parliament came to an end over the weekend, effectively meaning reforms cannot be pushed through the legislature.

- News24

Read more on:    sadc  |  lindiwe zulu  |  robert mugabe  |  jacob zuma  |  zimbabwe  |  zimbabwe elections 2013  |  southern africa
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