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Sat Dec 20 14:50:37 CAT 2014

Zim choosy on monitors

Sapa-AFP | 25 February, 2013 00:36
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (R) and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai address a media conference at State House in the capital Harare.
Image by: PHILIMON BULAWAYO / REUTERS

Zimbabwe's government has signalled that it will not allow monitors from outside the region to oversee this year's elections, state media said yesterday.

"Why should we be monitored by countries outside the Southern African Development Community when we are a sovereign state?" Vice President Joice Mujuru was quoted as saying in the Sunday Mail.

The 15-member regional bloc brokered a coalition between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the MDC, the party of his arch- rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in 2008.

Mujuru said countries that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe wanted to "impose themselves on our national election processes to influence the outcome in their favour".

The EU this week slightly eased its sanctions against Zimbabwe, but the US has said it will end restrictions only after more reforms. Zimbabwe's policy on foreign election observers is unclear. It rejected a report by EU observers that slammed polls in 2000 as violent and not free and fair.

Zimbabweans will vote on March 16 in a referendum on a new constitution. Elections in Zimbabwe have been marred by human rights violations, including killings of political opponents, beatings and intimidation.

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