Mugabe wants Zimbabwe elections in March, but monitoring group says 'impossible'


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 88, in Victoria Falls at the ceremony announcing that Zimbabwe and Zambia will co-host the UN World Tourism Organization General Assembly in August, 2013.


Joseph Mwenda

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe wants elections in March, but an independent monitoring group has warned it will be "impossible" for the polls to be free and fair.

Mugabe last week called for full elections in the final week of March, with a referendum on a draft constitution to be held this November. But the Zimbabwe Election Support Network said in a statement that "logistically it is impossible" to meet this timetable.

"It is with great concern that the network has noted that these revelations come against a backdrop of a constitution-making process that has remained unclear and stagnated," the group said. 

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According to the poll monitoring group, outstanding issues that first must be dealt with including inadequate funding of Zimbabwe's electoral commission and an outdated voters' registration list. As well, political violence and intimidation must end.

"Holding democratic elections is critical for Zimbabwe," the group said.

According to the Associated Press, an audit carried out of voters' lists last year found that 27 percent of names on the list were of dead voters.

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