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Zimbabwe Army Chief Rebuffs Tsvangirai Call for Security Talks

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May 5 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe’s army chief, a key ally of President Robert Mugabe, said he won’t meet the prime minister to discuss plans to reform the country’s security forces, state media reported, a move that may affect elections scheduled for this year.

“We have no time to meet sellouts,” Commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Constantine Chiwenga, was cited as saying in the Sunday Mail.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last month said the security forces need to be reformed before elections, planned to take place before October, can be held. The prime minister’s Movement for Democratic Change has accused the military and police of supporting the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party led by Mugabe.

The 15-nation Southern African Development Community brokered a 2009 power-sharing agreement between Zimbabwe’s main political parties after it ruled a presidential election the previous year was void. The ballot, held concurrently with parliamentary polls, led to the deaths of about 200 MDC supporters, according to Tsvangirai.

Elections scheduled for this year will end a five-year power-sharing agreement implemented by SADC, which brought an end to a decade of political and economic crises that saw inflation rise to 500 billion percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Tsvangirai’s spokesman couldn’t be reached for comments.

To contact the reporter on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Johannesburg at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net