Monday, June 17, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) MDC formations descend on Maputo
14/06/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE MDC formations trooped to Maputo Mozambique Friday ahead of the weekend extra-orinary summit of the regional SADC grouping which gained added significance following the row over election dates.

SADC, which has facilitated negotiations between the coalition parties since the disputed 2008 polls, had scheduled the meeting last week to discuss preparations for new elections to choose a substantive government.

The meeting had to be rescheduled after President Robert Mugabe, then in Japan for an Africa development summit, said he would not be able to attend.

But the Zanu PF leader stunned rivals Thursday by declaring elections would be held on July 31, triggering a bitter row with the MDC parties which claimed that the proclamation was also “illegal”.

The MDCs have plotted a two-pronged response which involves challenging Mugabe in the courts as well as appealing to SADC at the Saturday’s Maputo gathering.

Prime Minister and MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, left Friday for Maputo while Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube and his party’s secretary general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga would represent the other MDC formation at the gathering.

“The MDC will be taking to SADC its commitment to free and fair election which should be held as soon as possible without delay,” the MDC-T said in a statement.

“However, the party will insist on key reforms that have a bearing on the freeness and fairness of the elections. These include:

1. Completion of the voter’s registration exercise
2. Eradication of all forms of state sponsored violence
3. Full democratisation of the state media to make it accessible to all contesting parties during election.
4. Realignment of all laws which have a bearing on elections into conformity with the constitution.
5. Drawing up of a code of conduct to govern the behaviour of security services during elections in line with section 208 of the constitution which stipulate that - they should not be partisan and must not campaign for or against a political party and must respect fundamental Human Rights.

South Africa President Jacob Zuma, who has led SADC's dialogue initiative in Zimbabwe, is expected to present his latest report at the meeting.

And speaking just before he left for Maputo, Angola’s Foreign Minister Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikot,i who will represent President José Eduaro dos Santos, said SADC was ready to assist Zimbabwe with the election process.

“Angola agrees to the process that happened in Zimbabwe, all was consensual, as there was a referendum in which all SADC countries participated and supported the way it was conducted,” he said.

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