Mugabe decries S. African official for unfavourable words on Zimbabwe polls

HARARE. Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Saturday decried a South African official for her unfavorable words on the country’s upcoming general elections slated for July 31.
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe wave to supporters at a campaign rally in Chinhoyi, 115 km northwest of Harare, Zimbabwe, July 18, 2013. Mugabe on Thur....
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe wave to supporters at a campaign rally in Chinhoyi, 115 km northwest of Harare, Zimbabwe, July 18, 2013. Mugabe on Thur....

HARARE. Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Saturday decried a South African official for her unfavorable words on the country’s upcoming general elections slated for July 31.

Speaking to thousands of supporters in Gwanda, South Matabeleland Province, at a campaign rally, Mugabe said he was appealing to his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma to stop his international affairs advisor Lindiwe Zulu from bad-mouthing the political situation in Zimbabwe.

Zuma is the only one that has authority to speak on Zimbabwe affairs for his role as the facilitator of the regional bloc Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), he said.

Mugabe’s comment came after Zulu told media that the situation in Zimbabwe ahead of the elections “was not looking good.”

“We were given one facilitator (Jacob Zuma) and that is the one voice we want to hear,” Mugabe said. “We do not expect SADC to be raising lies about us and telling others that the situation in Zimbabwe is not peaceful and that the ground is not even.”

The 89-year-old veteran leader of Zimbabwe for 33 years first attacked Zulu on the launch of his campaign in early July, after she openly called for postponement of the Zimbabwe elections, echoing the appeal of Mugabe’s arch-rival in polls -- Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai’s party had demanded the delay to make way for certain reforms in the media and security sector, but the request was rejected by the country’s top court, upholding the Mugabe- proposed election date on July 31.

Zimbabwe’s last general elections in 2008 were marred by disputes and violence, which spurred the SADC to mediate a coalition government between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Observers say this time around things have improved a lot on the ground as very few cases of political violence have been reported so far. But some critics raise doubts over the electoral commission’s competency after it conducted a chaotic early voting for police men and polling officials last weekend.  

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