Morgan Tsvangirai says a UN statement condemning the election violence in Zimbabwe is an “important step” because it increases the international pressure on President Robert Mugabe and his supporters. The opposition MDC leader was speaking from the Dutch embassy in Harare, where he took refuge after withdrawing from Friday’s Presidential run-off.
UN officials decided that the violence and intimidation mean a free and fair vote in Zimbabwe is now impossible. It is the first time the Security Council, including South Africa, Russia and China who normally block discussion of Zimbabwe, has agreed a joint statement about the turmoil.
Afterwards, Secretary General Ban ki-Moon called on Mugabe to postpone Friday’s election: “This situation is no longer simply an internal problem, it is spreading beyond Zimbabwe’s borders. It has great implications for peace and stability and particularly when it comes to humanitarian situations, for all the region and Africa. As I said, the credibility of Zimbabwe and the African Union is at stake.”
Senegal and South Africa have also added to the pressure mounting on Mugabe by calling for Friday’s vote to be postponed. But the 84-year-old leader has refused, and accuses the West of lying about the poll violence in order to justify intervention.