17 July 2012

Africa: 'Remove Sanctions Before Elections'

ADDIS ABABA — Zimbabwe wants to go for elections without the burden of sanctions and calls on the African Union to condemn and call for their removal, President Mugabe has said.

Addressing the plenary of the 19th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly here, President Mugabe hailed the assistance rendered by Sadc, saying the AU should pick the gauntlet.

"My country is still labouring under the burden of illegal sanctions; although Sadc has done its best, we still have Europe imposing sanctions on us, America continuing to impose sanctions on us," he said.

"We would like to go for elections without sanctions, but there is no indication that there is a willingness on their part to get rid of these sanctions.

"May we get a word from this meeting that these sanctions are unjustified, these sanctions continue to impact on our people, these sanctions must go!"

Zimbabwe is expected to hold harmonised elections before June next year to signal the end of the inclusive Government that has outlived its set time frame.

Zanu-PF says the elections should be held as a matter of urgency since they are now overdue, while the MDC formations want them delayed.

The MDC formations argue that the harmonised elections should be held under a new constitution.

Copac has missed a deadline to produce the new constitution by almost two years and hopes have since faded that the country will have it soon.

Zanu-PF has said that the elections could still be held under the current Constitution that has been used to hold successful elections since independence in 1980.

Analysts say the recent High Court ruling ordering by-elections in three constituencies gives credence to the need for harmonised elections to be held.

They argue that instead of concentrating on the three constituencies, President Mugabe must set a date for the harmonised elections.

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