Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai Wants Security Forces Code of Conduct

Zimbabwe’s security services and the the Electoral Commission must be reformed before elections can be held, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said.

“Zimbabwe cannot tolerate vigilantes or militia bases in the country,” Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change, said in a telephone interview from Harare today. “We can’t have intimidation or violence and people mustn’t be forced into attending political rallies or voting against their will.”

The MDC, which won parliamentary elections in a violence-marred ballot in 2008, has accused Zimbabwe’s military and police of supporting the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party led by President Robert Mugabe.

“There’s a lack of political will to implement reforms ahead of elections and I’ll be briefing the Southern African Development Community leaders on the matter next week,” Tsvangirai said.

The 15-nation SADC 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 to an end to a decade of political and economic crises that saw inflation rise to 500 billion percent, according to the IMF.

“There shall be no elections until reforms are completed,” Tsvangirai said. Mugabe had agreed to a “road map” leading to elections that included reforms demanded by the MDC, Tsvangirai said.

State security minister Sydney Sekeremayi, a member of Zanu-PF, dismissed calls for reform of the security on April 22, the state-controlled Herald newspaper said on its website.