November 9, 2003

Harare needs peer review, says former Botswana president

Ketumile Masire says Zimbabwe must be subjected to the African Union's peer review mechanism. Speaking to the Sunday Times in Johannesburg this week, Masire urged the African Union to act on Zimbabwe, arguing that the significance of the continental body "will be determined by the way it holds its member states accountable" to its principles.

The peer review mechanism is an attempt by African governments to encourage one another to pursue good governance and democratic practices. "The AU has good guidelines on democratic principles that determine whether a country or leader is democratic or not," he said.

Masire was in South Africa to attend a conference on election management in the Southern African Development Community region, organised by the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa. Asked about the political situation in Swaziland, he said the kingdom must find a way to adjust to change. "Swaziland cannot afford to forget that the whole political scene in the region has changed." He added that while the SADC must help, "Swazis must decide their own future". Masire was optimistic about the progress made in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He said that while the two-year transitional period was set to end "some time in August next year", critical issues still needed to be resolved. These included electoral mechanisms such as "the type of electoral system, regional demarcation and the provision of identification documents". (The Sunday Times, Johannesburg)

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