South African churches denounce Zimbabwe poll farce

By staff writers
July 2, 2008

While some African national leaders continued to court Robert Mugabe at an African Union meeting in Egypt, despite their own observers saying that the presidential election was unacceptable, South African churches have spooken out candidly.

Christian leaders in South Africa stood together on Monday 30 June 2008 to announce that Zimbabwe has, in effect, no president - because the run-off election featuring Mr Mugabe alone was a sham.

"We call on African and other states of the world not to recognise the de facto presidency of former President Robert Mugabe," said Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, president of the South African Council of Churches.

He called for more sanctions on Zimbabwe. "While we recognise that further sanctions will hurt the poor and suffering Zimbabweans, we have come to the conclusion that the people of Zimbabwe are already burdened with untold suffering."

Maluleke added: "The time has come for all states to apply and intensify universal sanctions against Zimbabwe as part and parcel of the negotiations for power-sharing in Zimbabwe."

The Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC) and the African Union (AU) should work harder to help set up a transitional government to bring together the opposition and Mugabe,s party, said SACC General Secretary Eddie Makue.

"The run-off elections in which Mr Robert Mugabe ran alone were neither free nor fair, therefore this presidency is illegitimate."

Makue said the transitional government should, amongst other things, bring an immediate end to the violence and human rights violations while it negotiates a more stable, long term socioeconomic and political situation.

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