International outrage continues to mount against Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe and his government's violent election campaign. Tendai
Maphosa reports for VOA from London the British government now says it
will ban tours by the Zimbabwean cricket team.
The debate about whether Zimbabwe's cricket team should be allowed to tour internationally has been going on for some time.
government wanted a decision on whether to allow the team to compete in
the country to be made by the England and Wales Cricket board. But
recent events in Zimbabwe changed the picture.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed the issue in his regular Wednesday remarks to parliament.
Secretary for Culture is working with the English Cricket Board. We
want to ensure that Zimbabwe does not tour England next year and we
will call for other countries to join us in banning Zimbabwe from the
20-20 international tournament," Brown said.
The World 20-20
Cricket tournament, which England will host next summer, was officially
launched Tuesday in London with Zimbabwe still among the 12 competing
teams. But soon after the prime minister's statement, the England and
Wales Cricket Board announced that it is suspending relations with
The International Cricket Council meets in
Dubai next week to discuss the Zimbabwe issue and observers expect the
country to be suspended.
The decision to ban Zimbabwe may be
made easier since, earlier this week, South Africa's cricket
administrators, Cricket Zimbabwe's strongest allies announced they were
cutting all ties with Zimbabwe. This followed pressure by South
African cricket players who threatened they would not play against
Zimbabwe because of the ongoing political turmoil there.
related matter the Times daily newspaper reports the mining
conglomerate Anglo American is set to make a $400 million investment in
Zimbabwe. Though the Anglo-American deal was not brought up in
parliament, Prime Minister Brown called on companies that were helping
Mr. Mugabe's regime to "reconsider their position". The Times says the
Foreign office is looking into whether Anglo American breached
sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai has made an impassioned plea for action in an
article in the Guardian daily newspaper. Mr. Tsvangirai, who welcomed
Monday's Security Council statement condemning the Zimbabwean
government's violent campaign, appealed for a peacekeeping force to
protect the people of Zimbabwe. He emphasized he is not calling for
armed conflict but says the people of Zimbabwe need more than just
words of indignation.
Zimbabwe's long running political crisis
took a turn for the worse following the March 29 general election. The
opposition, Movement for Democratic Change won a majority in
parliament, but Mr. Tsvangirai failed to secure an outright victory
against incumbent President Mugabe in the presidential vote. A runoff
is scheduled for Friday, but Mr. Tsvangirai has pulled out, citing
violent repression of the opposition and its supporters.