Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has called for peacekeeping force before elections that are likely to be held next year.
Tsvangirai, who formed a transitional government with President Robert Mugabe last year was speaking at his party’s rally in the satellite town of Chitungwiza. Under the terms of the agreement that formed the transitional government, the country must hold elections after 24 months.
“We agreed that within the next 18-24 months we go for elections, so far we have gone through the first year.We don’t want a violent election but an environment for a free and fair election where a loser accepts defeat and allows the winner to take over. We are not afraid of going for an election. I hear reports about violence about houses being burnt. We have to stop the violence before the election” said Tsvangirai.
“Let’s bring in foreign observers. Why don’t we have a peace keeping force so that everyone is going to exercise their democratic rights. Why don’t we have a peacekeeping force so that we have peace and stability before we conduct an election. If we can’t do it ourselves lets use SADC and AU to create that environment for a free and fair election,” he added.
Tsvangirai called for a conclusion to the interparty talks saying his party was putting measures to ensure that the talks are concluded.
“We are sick and tired of endless talks,” he said. “We shall take measures that there will be no more dialogue for dialogue’s sake. We are a country in a transition, so get ready for elections.”
Zimbabwe may hold elections next elections, but no date has been set. Last week, Mugabe told reporters that he will be his party’s candidate for the elections.
Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first round of presidential elections in March 2008, but later withdrew from a scheduled second round citing state sponsored violence against his supporters.