African bishops call for pressure on Mugabe


African Anglican bishops on Friday urged regional leaders to put pressure on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to accept disputed poll results, ahead of a special summit in Zambia.

The bishops said leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), who will meet to discuss Zimbabwe's poll crisis on Saturday should "prevail upon" Mugabe to accept the results of the election.

After a meeting in Pretoria, bishops from Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia noted "with sadness" delays in announcing results of the presidential poll.

"We are concerned that this situation has given rise to rumour and uncertainty which are bound to fuel despondency, tension and social upheaval," the SAPA news agency quoted the clerics as saying.

They called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release the results without any further delay, on the 13th day since the general election was held.

Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper on Friday reported the ZEC as saying its hands were tied over the release of the presidential election results because the matter is in court, state media said on Friday.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change is waging a legal battle to force the commission to publish results of the poll they say their leader Morgan Tsvangirai won outright.  (AFP)