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Sun Apr 19 06:37:19 SAST 2015

Zimbabwe bars the West from monitoring its elections

Sapa-AFP | 05 March, 2013 00:14
A polling officer fixes a sign indicating a polling station in Bulawayo Zimbabwe. File photo
Image by: Emmanuel Chitate / Reuters / Reuters

Zimbabwe's government yesterday rebuffed calls for international observers to be allowed to monitor its elections, which are slated for July.

"Zimbabwe will not allow countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to participate as observers," Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said.

His comment would rule out the participation of most Western observers in monitoring the crucial poll, amid ominous signs of political violence.

Mumbengegwi called for sanctions to be removed "unconditionally and in their totality".

The EU last month eased sanctions against Zimbabwe, but the US has said it will only end restrictions after more reforms.

A series of arrests and deaths have raised questions about whether supporters of President Robert Mugabe will choose the baton or the ballot box. Radio stations have been raided and the son of an opposition leader has died in a suspected firebomb attack.

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