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2008 harmonised elections - Index of articles
must follow new laws for free elections
February 18, 2008
Pretoria - Zimbabwe's
elections next month will be free and fair as long as new laws on
security and the media are fully implemented, South Africa's Foreign
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said on Monday. Speaking at a joint
press conference with her visiting New Zealand counterpart Winston
Peters, Dlamini Zuma said it was vital that legislation which was
agreed on between the Zimbabwean opposition and ruling party in
mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki is put into practice.
"If the Zimbabweans implement everything that have agreed upon
during their negotiations on matters that had kept them apart --
if they implement the laws passed by parliament around security,
information, media and all those laws ... the prospects for free
and fair elections should be good," she said. "The important
thing is all those things should be implemented now in the run-up
to elections and during the elections."
talks led by Mbeki, Zimbabwean lawmakers passed a new Public
Order and Security Act which should allow for opposition rallies
to take place except where police have reason to believe they could
result in unrest. They also passed a new media law relaxing requirements
for independent broadcasters and newspapers to operate and compelling
the media to give equal coverage to all political parties.
However the opposition has accused President Robert Mugabe's government
of failing to follow the new laws in the build-up to a March 29
general election after the authorities tried to ban one of its rallies
last month. And despite the new media law, the only daily newspapers
and radio or television stations to currently operate are all state-run.
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change has rejected
the mediation talks have been a success and urged the South African
leader to show some "courage" in his dealings with his
Peters, whose government has imposed a series of sanctions against
Mugabe after he allegedly rigged his 2002 re-election, said New
Zealand would only have "positive thoughts for Zimbabwe"
if the elections were fully democratic. Unless an election is free
and fair it is not an election. It is a jack up. It is a construction...
It is organised deceit," he told reporters.
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