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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid