British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for the African Union to
tell Zimbabwean President Mugabe the troubled African country needs a
new government. Tendai Maphosa has the details in this report from
Prime Minister Gordon Brown's call was directed at the
African leaders gathered for an AU summit in the Egyptian Red Sea
resort of Sharm el Sheikh.
Mr. Mugabe is attending the summit
and arrived just hours after he was hastily sworn in for a sixth term
in office in Harare on Sunday. He won a runoff election Friday in
which he was the only candidate and which has been widely condemned.
Prime Minister Brown said African leaders and the rest of the international community must now take a strong stand.
would hope that the African Union with the United Nations will make it
absolutely clear to Mr. Mugabe that there has got to be change, a new
government has got to be brought in and that when democracy is restored
in Zimbabwe we will prepared to help the Zimbabwean people end the
poverty and the deprivation and the famine that exists in some parts of
the country," he said.
The European Union also dismissed Mr. Mugabe's election victory as "an exercise in power-grabbing" that must not be recognized.
a statement, the organization's Development Commissioner Louis Michel
called for the African Union to seek a political solution. Michel said
that given the conditions in which the presidential election runoff
took place, it is not possible to recognize the legitimacy of the
Friday's presidential runoff election became a one-man
race after the withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of
the Movement for Democratic Change. Tsvangirai said he was
withdrawing because of harassment and violence against his party and
Mr. Tsvangirai won the most votes in the
presidential election on March 29, but the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission said he did not gain an outright majority, thus requiring a
runoff. Mr. Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party also lost control of
parliament in the March election to the MDC for the first time since
independence in 1980.
The opposition win triggered a violent
campaign by supporters of Mr. Mugabe's party that has left dozens of
MDC supporters dead, hundreds maimed and thousands displaced.
Vines once lived in Zimbabwe. He now heads the Africa program at
Chatham House, the respected London-based research center. He tells VOA
that public condemnation of Mr. Mugabe by his fellow leaders in Egypt
"I think privately a number of heads of state are
going to tell Mr. Mugabe about their concerns, but I do think that the
African Union will look to encouraging some sort of additional
mediation, some sort of compromise," said Vines. "And indeed, Mr.
Mugabe is quite isolated within the region and within the African Union
there will not be tremendous sympathy for what has just occurred and
the condemnation of the electoral process for the presidential runoff
by three sets of different African monitors makes it quite difficult
for Mr. Mugabe."
Vines added that while the West has been more
vocal in condemning Mr. Mugabe, the solution to Zimbabwe's worsening
political and economic problems lies in pressure for change, which he
said has to come from within the country. Vines also underscored that
Zimbabwe's neighbors can play a crucial role in resolving some of these