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Zimbabwe’s Opposition Party Gets International Support


Supporters of Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have described calls by the international community for the release of the presidential results as a step in the right direction. The calls three weeks after the general elections come after Tsvangirai reportedly met Ghana’s President John Kufuor, who expressed the need for the resolution of Zimbabwe’s post-election impasse.

The chairman of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party (ANC) Jacob Zuma added his voice by calling on Zimbabwe’s electoral commission to release the results. Zuma reportedly said it was important for the electoral commission to maintain its non-partisan nature as well as its integrity by releasing the results. But supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party dismissed the calls, saying Zimbabweans are capable of solving their own problems. Zimbabwean political analyst Glen Mpani of South Africa’s University of Cape Town tells reporter Peter Clottey that the opposition is gradually gaining international support.

“I think the impact of the shift in opinion has an impact in the sense that for a long time, ever since the crisis in Zimbabwe started, African governments had always given their support to Mugabe on the basis that they believed that there was an agenda or there was interference coming from Britain and America and they would believe that the central issue within Zimbabwe had to deal with land. But over time now, they have realized that the problem had to do with legitimacy and bad governance. They now know the true story, and this has been assisted by the diplomatic initiative that the opposition has done, approaching African leaders, communicating with them directly, and visiting tier respective countries and explaining to them what the problem is,” Mpani pointed out.

He said although the opposition leader faces possible charges of treason, he should be commended for rallying international support for the opposition’s course in resolving the post election impasse.

“I know there are different perspectives in terms of whether he (Tsvangirai) should return to Zimbabwe or should be out of the country. But I think one of the things that I would give him credit for is that being outside has assisted a lot in terms of him being able to push for diplomatic support within Africa. And I think if he goes back to Zimbabwe in the event that he is arrested, I think that is simply going to permit him to be able to support the argument that he has been putting across that the Zimbabwe government does not accept a divergence of opinions. They are closing ranks and they are trying as much as possible to gag him,” he said.

Mpani described as a bold step Jacob Zuma’s call for the immediate release of Zimbabwe’s elections results.

“I think the reason is Zuma is positioning himself in contrast to Thabo Mbeki (South Africa’s President) that you are aware that internally within South Africa, he (Zuma) is in contestation within South Africa in terms of Zuma trying to present himself as a credible candidate for the ANC to be the president. So, he is also taking advantage of all the weaknesses during his tenure, and Zimbabwe is one of the key issues. And I think for him to stand up and say there is need to come up with a forceful and effective way to deal with the Zimbabwe issues, obviously increases his ratings,” he noted.

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