Mugabe blocking reforms - Tsvangirai

2013-04-26 07:34
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

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HARARE, April 25, 2013 (AFP) -Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday accused President Robert Mugabe's party of obstructing reforms needed to guarantee the credibility of upcoming polls.

"The major stumbling block to the implementation of already agreed reforms remains a palpable deficit of political will to implement agreed issues," Tsvangirai told reporters.

"The ball lies squarely (sic) on President Mugabe and ZANU-PF," the prime minister said in Harare.

Polls are due this year to end an uneasy four-year-old unity government between the parties of Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, and former opposition leader Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai argues that several key reforms -- including on media, security and electoral law -- promised by the deal agreed after disputed 2008 polls have yet to be implemented.

"There shall be no credible election without the implementation of... minimum reforms," the prime minister said.

He announced he would soon embark on a tour to urge the Southern African Development Community and African Union to put pressure on Mugabe to guarantee free polls.

Current opposition leader Simba Makoni this week said Zimbabweans feared a repeat of the bloody 2008 scenario and accused both partners in the government of failing to deliver.

The voter registration process is to begin next week.

The electoral roll has been a contentious issue, with Tsvangirai's party alleging it was stuffed with millions of ghost voters who were used by Mugabe to rig elections.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said the country needs $132 million (100 million euros) to organise the polls but state coffers are empty.

Earlier this month the government withdrew a request for funding from the United Nations following disagreement on the size and mandate of an assessment team from the global body.

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