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Australia Condemns Zimbabwe Senate Election Farce

Australia Condemns Zimbabwe Senate Election Farce

Today's Senate elections in Zimbabwe are a cynical act of political patronage to shore up President Mugabe's power-base in ZANU-PF, as the country's economic crisis and food shortage worsens.

They appear to be aimed at creating expensive sinecures for ZANU-PF cronies, while the real needs of the people of Zimbabwe remain unmet.

The deeply flawed elections of March 2005 gave President Mugabe the two-thirds majority he needed in Parliament to amend the constitution to create the Senate.

The Senate elections will be conducted on the same unlevel playing field as March - gerrymandered boundaries, flawed electoral rolls and a range of repressive legislation to control political debate.

This farce is being played out at a time when the people of Zimbabwe face increasingly dire economic times - 75 per cent unemployment, over 300 per cent inflation and acute shortages of necessities of all descriptions caused by gross economic mismanagement. It has been estimated that the World Food Programme (WFP) will soon be feeding some 4.3 million Zimbabweans, or about a third of the population.

I hope that Zimbabwe's neighbours, who are best able to influence President Mugabe, can persuade the Zimbabwe Government to change course.

Australia will maintain its bilateral 'smart sanctions' regime against Zimbabwe and continue to work with like-minded countries to exert international pressure for a change in direction.

© Scoop Media

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