Zimbabwe: peace forum warns of slide to chaos over elections

 Zimbabwe faces a real possibility of civil strife that could spill over into neighbouring countries, a regional peace forum warned yesterday as the crisis arising from delayed presidential results kept tensions high in the troubled southern African nation. The Zambian chapter of the Great Lakes Parliamentary Forum on Peace (Amani Forum) expressed concern over the uneasy situation prevailing in Zimbabwe. Presidential election results have not been declared since polling day on March 29. The opposition says it won. Its recourse to the High Court to have the results announced flopped. And the extra-ordinary summit of regional leaders in Lusaka at the weekend largely failed to put any significant pressure on the regime of President Robert Mugabe to respect the tenets of democracy. "The delay in the announcement of Presidential results by the Zimbabwe Election Commission is a source of possible civil strife within that country, the spill over effects of which could affect the neighbouring countries such as Zambia, said Batuke Imenda of the Amani Forum-Zambia. The lobby group appealed to the ruling and opposition parties (ZANU-PF and MDC respectively) to be mindful of situations in the region, particularly Rwanda, where tinkering with democracy led to tragic consequences. "The recent events in Kenya also made sad reading. Kenya was known as a hub of peace in Africa but the deaths that occurred after the general elections, where thousands of people were slaughtered like animals, was beyond human comprehension. Amani Forum called a "speedy and peaceful resolution of the election impasse. Source: CISA

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