Britain says Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe can expect more
pressure from the international community due to the deteriorating
situation in his country before Friday's presidential runoff vote. A
senior official in London also says Britain supports Zimbabwean
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to withdraw from the
election. Tendai Maphosa has more for VOA from London.
Office Minister Mark Malloch Brown told reporters it would have been
preferable for Movement for Democratic Change candidate Morgan
Tsvangirai to contest Friday's runoff vote. But, Malloch Brown said
his withdrawal is understandable.
"We completely understand
and support the decision of the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out,
because clearly the conditions for the elections to proceed had become
impossible," he said.
Malloch Brown says the violent blocking of
an opposition rally, which Mr. Tsvangirai was supposed to address
Sunday, could have been the tipping point. He went on to express deep
regret that the people of Zimbabwe are being denied an opportunity to
have their voices heard on June 27.
Mr. Tsvangirai won the
most votes in the presidential election on March 29, but the Zimbabwe
Election Commission said he did not gain an outright majority. The MDC
also won the parliamentary elections and most local government
Malloch Brown says Mr. Tsvangirai's withdrawal from
the runoff election throws into question any claim to victory by
"He has no claims under his own constitution
for the presidency," Brown said. "The AU [African Union] has clear
conditions about not accepting any more presidents non-democratically
elected to hold their seats, SADC [Southern African Development
Community] has its own clear principles about the conduct of elections;
all of these have essentially been breached. We do not accept the
status quo and we do not expect the international community to accept
the status quo."
President Mugabe has consistently blamed the
opposition for the violence and outside interference, especially from
former colonial power, Britain. Both the opposition and Britain deny
But, says Malloch Brown, the events of the past six
months show that situation in Zimbabwe can now be characterized as
Mugabe against the international community.
To this end, he
said, the situation is up for discussion by various organizations
including the United Nations, the European Union, the G8 and the Africa
"So, we expect out of all these different forums,
action," said Brown. "Some of them, like the EU or the G8, it is
appropriate for us to make proposals as to what that action should be.
Others such as the U.N. and the AU it is important that we are very
much part of the discussion."
Last week the European Union
warned that unspecified additional measures would be taken against
those responsible for the violent campaign in Zimbabwe. EU sanctions
already include a travel ban on Mr. Mugabe and 130 members of his inner