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Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Determined to Continue Pressuring Mugabe - 2003-06-21

A day after his release on bail from two weeks in prison, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said his party will continue to pressure President Robert Mugabe's government to solve the country's political and economic crisis.

Mr. Tsvangirai said his party is still committed to a peaceful resolution of Zimbabwe's political crisis. He also insisted that mass action, such as the general strike and street demonstrations that led to his arrest, remain an option, as long as President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party refuse to agree to unconditional talks.

"We cannot fold our hands and say, because the government has used brute force, therefore, we should abandon whatever action we are thinking about," he said. "We are even going to be more organized and more forceful until Mugabe and ZANU-PF realize that the solution to the Zimbabwean crisis is through negotiations. We are not going to capitulate, but we are ready to negotiate and to compromise."

One of Mr. Tsvangirai's bail conditions was that he not make statements encouraging the violent and unlawful removal from office of President Mugabe. He says this will in no way hinder the performance of his duties as leader of the opposition, since he has never advocated the violent overthrow of Mr. Mugabe.

He said violence has never been part of the agenda of his party, the Movement for Democratic Change, the MDC, and that's why the opposition has gone to the High Court to challenge Mr. Mugabe's claim to have won the last election.

Mr. Tsvangirai is now facing two charges of treason. He is presently on trial for allegedly plotting to assassinate President Mugabe. If found guilty he, along with two co-defendants, could face the death penalty. They have denied the charges.