Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe has said he is open to holding talks with the opposition, but only after Friday’s presidential run-off vote. Speaking at one of his final campaign rallies before the election, Mugabe claimed to be ready for dialogue with the Movement for Democratic Change, which is boycotting the ballot.
The one-man poll has been internationally condemned. Former South African president Nelson Mandela said Zimbabwe was suffering a “failure of leadership”.
Speaking from his refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said negotiations would not be possible if Mugabe went ahead with the vote. Meanwhile the MDC number two, Tendai Biti, has been freed on bail of one trillion Zimbabwean dollars, or 63 euros. He has been charged with treason.
As the countdown continues, scores of Zimbabwean opposition supporters have turned up at the South African embassy in Harare in the hope of escaping any violence. Some could be seen sitting in the car park, waiting. At least one road block has been set up blocking access to the embassy and government riot police have been deployed nearby.