Tuesday, 10 June 2008

US pouring millions for the pro-MDC campaign.

US to spend several million dollars to monitor Zimbabwe election

2 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States said it is spending several million dollars to help international observers ensure that presidential elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair.

"We are going to contribute several million dollars to the election observer effort," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters on Monday in the build-up to a presidential runoff on June 27.

The money is "not only to ensure that there are proper, sufficient numbers from countries that are going to supply the observers, but that they have the resources to do their job on the ground," McCormack said.

And during a press briefing on Tuesday, McCormack said the money is for "the combination of the two" elections, both the first round on March 29 and the runoff at the end of the month.

A State Department official told AFP later on the condition of anonymity that the amount is being sent to groups that promote democratic elections as well as to regional and international organizations.

A draft statement being prepared for a EU-US summit in Slovenia said the European Union and the United States will call on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to send a team to Zimbabwe to monitor human rights.

The statement, obtained by AFP, also called for a "free and fair presidential run-off" in Zimbabwe when opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will be hoping to end President Robert Mugabe's 28-year rule.

In a first round of elections on March 29, Mugabe's party lost its majority in parliament -- for the first time since independence in 1980 -- to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition movement.

Tsvangirai also beat Mugabe in the first round, but officially fell short of an outright majority and must face Mugabe in the run-off election.

Tsvangirai was twice detained by police last week.

Authorities have also banned a series of rallies by the MDC. Many MDC supporters have been arrested or injured in the political unrest, with some taking refuge in the party headquarters in Harare.

The United States has frequently denounced Harare's crackdown on the opposition.

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