Zimbabwe needs peacekeepers for polls

March 8, 2010 12:00 am

, CHITUNGWIZA, Mar 8 – Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday called for an African Union and regional peacekeeping force to ensure that general elections in the country will be peaceful.

"Let’s bring foreign observers for the (next) elections", Tsvangirai told party supporters at a rally in Chitungwiza, 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of the capital.

"We want a peacekeeping force, so that we can have a free and fair environment for the election to keep our people free so that they can vote.

"We can use AU and Southern African Development Community forces for peacekeeping during the election period," he added.

Tsvangirai and longtime rival President Robert Mugabe entered into a power sharing deal in 2008, known as the Global Political Agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, the country must hold elections after 24 months.

"We agreed that within the next 18-24 months we go for elections, so far we have finished one year," he said.

"We still have some months to complete the GPA, we don’t want elections that are full of violence, we want free and fair elections."

Tsvangirai expressed concern about reports of persistent violence he said he was receiving from across the country.

He has tasked two home affairs ministers to investigate.

He added that his party wanted interparty talks to be wound up. "We are sick and tired of endless talks", he said.

"We shall take measures that there will be no more dialogue for dialogue’s sake. We are a country in a transition, so get ready for elections."

Last week, Mugabe told reporters that he would be his party’s candidate in the elections for which no date has been set.

In 2008, Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first round of presidential polls. He later withdrew from the second round citing state-sponsored violence against his supporters.


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