Regional leaders urge Zimbabwe to delay polls

Updated: 2013-06-16 04:09


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MAPUTO - Southern African leaders on Saturday urged Zimbabwe to delay the holding of general elections on July 31 as set by its veteran leader Robert Mugabe, citing the need for more time to prepare the electoral process.

After a special summit of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) held in Maputo, the group's secretary general Tomaz Salomao said ther is a need for the government of Zimbabwe to engage the constitutional court to request more time beyond the July 31 deadline for holding presidential, parliamentary, and council polls.

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe on Thursday announced that the elections are to be held on July 31, in complaince with a constitutional court ruling made earlier this month.

But the move was denounced by Mugabe's long-time rival prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is in a coalition government with Mugabe, saying that more time is needed for crucial reforms in media and security sectors to ensure a fair vote.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who will be contesting against each other in the upcoming polls, attended the Maputo summit that also drew leaders from 14 other southern African states.