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Mugabe visits S.Africa ahead of polls

Published on 08/03/2013

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe visited South Africa for talks with ally Jacob Zuma Friday, just days before Zimbabweans vote on a new constitution.

The veteran leader attended a meeting of former liberation and struggle movements hosted by South Africa’s President Zuma in Pretoria.

Zimbabwe holds a vote on March 16 to adopt or reject a new constitution and will hold a watershed election due in July.

Both Mugabe and Zuma refused to answer questions on the constitutional referendum, despite allegations of a mounting crackdown on civic and rights organisations.

South Africa has long played a pivotal role in Zimbabwe, but has resisted pressure to publicly condemn rights abuses in the country.

“We share the same values, we went through the same route,” Zuma said after the meeting, flanked by Mugabe.

“We believe that our positions as former liberation movements need to be consolidated.”

The talks took place at South Africa’s Freedom Park, a monument built on a hill in Pretoria to honour those killed during all of South Africa’s wars and the struggle against apartheid.