Zimbabwe CSOs ask SADC and AU to supervise next polls amid fears of violence

Afrique Avenir A coalition of Zimbabwean civil society organisations (CSOs), Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said that the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) must supervise Zimbabwe’s 2011 elections to ensure they are “radically different” from the violent 2008 polls.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said in a statement that SADC leaders should put in place an Elections supervisory mechanism for Zimbabwe’s next polls to prevent state-sponsored violence, which characterized previous polls.

“SADC must be the midwife to help deliver democracy in Zimbabwe. Without that, it will be another stillbirth for democracy in Zimbabwe,” CZC said.

It noted that Zimbabwe’s institutions remained weak and compromised to prevent state-sponsored violence or to deliver a democratic election despite the formation of a coalition government in 2009.

“We, therefore, demand that SADC and the African Union by extension supervise Zimbabwe elections to ensure full compliance with SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections – including impartiality of electoral institutions, prevention of state-sponsored violence and non-interference in electoral processes by the state security sector,” the coalition said.

Zimbabwe is due to hold elections in 2011 after the completion of an ongoing process to draft a new Constitution.

The new charter is part of reforms agreed by President Robert Mugabe and former opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara under a power-sharing agreement signed in 2008 in the aftermath of disputed polls.

The three leaders agreed to call for fresh polls immediately after the completion of the new Constitution becomes law in 2011.

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