News / Africa

Southern African Leaders Urge Zimbabwe to Postpone Election

Botswana President Ian Khama (L) walks alongside Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (R) during a lunch break at the SADC summit in Maputo, June 15, 2013.
Botswana President Ian Khama (L) walks alongside Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (R) during a lunch break at the SADC summit in Maputo, June 15, 2013.
Reuters
Southern African leaders on Saturday told Zimbabwe to ask its courts to extend a July 31 deadline to hold elections, amid high tension between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over the timing of the vote.

The summit of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the Mozambican capital came two days after Mugabe declared the election day, a date immediately rejected by Tsvangirai, his partner in coalition and main political rival.

Mugabe had argued he was following an order from the Constitutional Court to hold the election by the end of July, but Tsvangirai said it was too soon to allow the reforms of the media and security forces required for a free and fair vote.

"The summit acknowledged the ruling of the constitutional court on the election date and it will be respected," Tomaz Salomao, Secretary General of SADC, said after the one-day meeting. "What the summit recommended was, in recognizing that there was a need for more time, that the government of Zimbabwe engage the constitutional court to ask for more time beyond the deadline of July 31."

SADC leaders had earlier feared that hurrying the elections would increase the chances of a disputed result and violence.

In 2008 hundreds of Zimbabweans, mostly Tsvangirai's supporters, were beaten and killed, creating a flood of refugees into neighboring countries.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who is also secretary general of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party, said SADC had "ordered a return to constitutionalism."

"We Zimbabweans want an election yesterday. However, it must be legitimate and credible," Biti said.

The SADC summit, postponed by a week at Mugabe's request, had also been expected to discuss finance for the elections, expected to cost the cash-strapped country $132 million. But the funding was not debated during the summit.

The summit did discuss developments in Madagascar, which slid into turmoil after disc jockey-turned-politician Andry Rajoelina seized power from Marc Ravalomanana with military support in 2009.

Foreign donors froze budget support and the Indian Ocean island was suspended from the African Union. Succumbing to regional pressure, both men agreed in January not to run in a presidential election in August.

But Ravalomanana's wife then said she would contest the election, a decision that led current president Rajoelina to rejoin the presidential race.

The summit said there was need for international political and diplomatic pressure for "illegitimate presidential candidates to withdraw their candidatures for the sake of peace and stability in Madagascar."

You May Like

Photogallery Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid