Zim's vote must be peaceful: Amnesty

2013-07-12 10:15
ZANU-PF supporters hold a poster with Robert Mugabe's picture as they attend an election campaign rally. (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)

ZANU-PF supporters hold a poster with Robert Mugabe's picture as they attend an election campaign rally. (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)

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Harare - Global rights watchdog Amnesty International has called on African blocs to ensure that Zimbabwe's upcoming elections are not marred by violence similar to the 2008 vote.

In a report released on Friday, the organisation urged the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) to "take all measures necessary" to ensure there is no repeat of "state-sponsored violence during the 31 July harmonised elections".

"The stakes are high in this election and the run up to it cannot simply be treated as business as usual, either by stakeholders in Zimbabwe or by the international community," said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty's Africa deputy programme director.

The body wants the regional bodies to send election observers to Zimbabwe to "meticulously document human rights violations, in particular those committed by government agencies".

‘Underlying tensions’ between SA, Zim

This comes as "underlying tensions" that have long existed between President Robert Mugabe’s government and South Africa are now coming into the open, an international relations source told the Mail & Guardian.

This became apparent as Mugabe’s party, Zanu-PF, was left angered by comments made by President Jacob Zuma’s mediation facilitator Lindiwe Zulu.

Zulu stated that the SADC wanted Zimbabwe’s elections postponed by two weeks. Mugabe responded by calling her "some stupid, idiotic woman" and a "little street woman" while a Zimbabwean government spokesperson said she was an "outsider" and a "mere back staffer".

Zimbabwe's security forces, controlled by Mugabe, have in the past been accused of rights abuses and intimidating political opponents.

New constitution

At least 200 people were killed in the run-up to the June 2008 presidential run-off between Mugabe and his arch rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Thousands were tortured and beaten in a wave of political violence that engulfed the country, forcing Tsvangirai to withdraw from the race. Mugabe won the vote uncontested.

The upcoming election will end the uneasy power-share government between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, formed in 2009 after a deal brokered by SADC.
Read more on:    au  |  sadc  |  robert mugabe  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  zimbabwe  |  zimbabwe elections 2013  |  southern africa

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