Southern African leaders have called for the postponement of Zimbabwe’s run-off election, saying conditions are not conducive to a fair poll. It comes after the head of Zimbabwe’s opposition urged direct African intervention in his country’s crisis, after a wave of political violence.
“I am asking the African Union and Sadc (Southern African Development Community) to lead an expanded initiative, supported by the United Nations, to manage what I would call a transitional process,” said Morgan Tsvangirai at a news conference. “We are proposing that the AU facilitation team, comprising eminent Africans, set up a transitional period which takes into account the will of the people of Zimbabwe as exercised on the 29th of March.”
Tsvangirai has now returned to the Dutch embassy where he has taken refuge. Stripped of his honorary knighthood by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has refused to call off Friday’s poll. Tsvangirai pulled out of the ballot, saying his supporters would risk their lives by voting. He maintains he won’t enter talks with Mugabe’s government, if it goes ahead.