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S.Africa Urges SADC to Send Observers to Zimbabwe

Xinhuanet 2002-02-04 01:52:04
   JOHANNESBURG, February 4 (Xinhuanet) -- The Southern African 
Development Community (SADC) should immediately send observers to
Zimbabwe to ensure a free and fair presidential election there,
South African Labor Minister Shepherd Mdladlana said here Monday.
   Warning against high political intolerance in Zimbabwe,
Mdladlana said the 150-member regional team should "have been
there yesterday."
   Mdladlana, who represents South Africa on the six-member SADC
ministerial task force on Zimbabwe, said "there is too much
intolerance in that country and too much polarization... What
concerns me most is this intolerance."
   The intolerance was across the board, and there had been an
increase in political violence since President Robert Mugabe
announced the presidential on March 9 and 10, Mdladlana said in an
interview with the South African Press Association.
   The SADC observer team should move quickly, said Mdladlana,
adding that he had already sent a message to SADC chairman,
President Bakili Maluzi of Malawi, to deploy the team.
   "They (SADC) are moving very slowly and it's worrying us
because it looks like the South African delegation will be ready
much earlier than the SADC one," he said.
   Asked how a free and fair election was possible in such a
climate, Mdladlana referred to South Africa's own history of
political violence in the run-up to the country's first democratic
elections in 1994.
    "Just two or three weeks before our own election on April 27,
one thousand people died... but South Africans said `we shall have
these elections and we shall see that it is free and fair and
everyone is now dubbing that a miracle,"  the minister added. 
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