Africa must impose sanctions on Zimbabwe: HRW

The rights body called for the African Union to immediately push for the deployment of peacekeepers to end violence.

Africa must impose sanctions on Zimbabwe: HRW
Africa must impose sanctions on Zimbabwe following a sham election which led to further reprisal violence, Human Rights Watch said on Sunday.

The rights body called for the African Union to immediately push for the deployment of peacekeepers to end violence.

"African states should impose sanctions against Robert Mugabe and his illegitimate government in Zimbabwe after the sham presidential runoff," HRW said in a statement.

Mugabe, who says he is confident of victory, was the sole candidate after MDC opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew a week ago because of government-backed violence which he said had killed nearly 90 of his supporters.

Officials say they hope to release the result on Sunday.

Human Rights Watch said it had documented numerous incidents of violence, intimidation and manipulation by Mugabe's ZANU-PF before, during and after Friday's election.

In some parts of the capital Harare, ZANU-PF supporters went door-to-door searching for people who had not voted.

"The ZANU-PF supporters took those who did not have ink on their fingers to ZANU-PF bases in the areas and beat them with batons and thick sticks. Others were targeted because their names did not appear on a list compiled by ZANU-PF that showed who had voted in particular polling stations," HRW said.

Similar violence took place before the election.

"ZANU-PF's overall strategy seems to be to eliminate any opposition to the government. Only the strongest possible action from the African Union can help to prevent further bloodshed and loss of life," said Georgette Gagnon, the group's Africa director.

African Union leaders, under international pressure to take action against Mugabe, will meet in Egypt on Monday.

The MDC defeated Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party in first round elections on March 29 but Tsvangirai fell short of the majority needed for outright victory.

Reuters
Last Mod: 29 Haziran 2008, 14:48
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