Museveni: Climate not right for Zim poll

The current climate in Zimbabwe was “not at all” the proper one for an election, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said in an interview broadcast on Tuesday.

Speaking to the BBC while in London for a Commonwealth summit, the veteran leader was asked by the broadcaster if the current situation in the Southern African nation was conducive for an election, to which he responded: “Not at all.”

“They [Zimbabwe] will have to depend on [African Union election] monitors,” Museveni added.

US to spend millions to monitor poll
The United States said it is spending several million dollars to help international observers ensure that presidential elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair.

“We are going to contribute several million dollars to the election observer effort,” US State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack told reporters on Monday in the build-up to a presidential run-off on June 27.

The money is “not only to ensure that there are proper, sufficient numbers from countries that are going to supply the observers, but that they have the resources to do their job on the ground,” McCormack said.

And during a press briefing on Tuesday, McCormack said the money is for “the combination of the two” elections, both the first round on March 29 and the run-off at the end of the month.

A State Department official said later on the condition of anonymity that the amount is being sent to groups that promote democratic elections as well as to regional and international organisations.

A draft statement being prepared for a European Union-US summit in Slovenia said the European Union and the United States will call on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to send a team to Zimbabwe to monitor human rights.

The statement also called for a “free and fair presidential run-off” in Zimbabwe when opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will be hoping to end President Robert Mugabe’s 28-year rule.

In a first round of elections on March 29, Mugabe’s party lost its majority in Parliament—for the first time since independence in 1980—to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition movement.

Tsvangirai also beat Mugabe in the first round, but officially fell short of an outright majority and must face Mugabe in the run-off election.

Tsvangirai was twice detained by police last week.

Authorities have also banned a series of rallies by the MDC. Many MDC supporters have been arrested or injured in the political unrest, with some taking refuge in the party headquarters in Harare.

The United States has frequently denounced Harare’s crackdown on the opposition. - AFP

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