Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has sought refuge in the
Dutch Embassy in Harare. VOA's Delia Robertson reports from our
southern Africa bureau in Johannesburg the development comes a day
after Tsvangirai withdraw from a presidential runoff election against
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
The Dutch Foreign Ministry
confirmed that Morgan Tsvangirai is being sheltered at the country's
embassy in Harare. The ministry said the decision had been made
earlier by the Foreign Minister following a request for assistance,
should it be needed, from the MDC.
Tsvangirai's move to the
Dutch embassy followed a police raid on his party's headquarters and
the arrest of dozens of opposition supporters. The MDC said most were
mothers and children and other victims of political violence who had
sought shelter at party's Harare office.
Earlier in the day
Tsvangirai told South African radio that he would would be willing to
negotiate with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on a way forward
following his withdrawal from the presidential runoff election,
providing there is an end to political violence.
withdrew from the presidential runoff election Sunday saying that it
was an illegitimate, violent sham. But Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa says the election will go ahead. This was echoed by the
chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission George Chiweshe who told
South Africa radio a credible election remains possible.
is in place, our logistics are in place, we are deploying our personnel
and electoral officers on the ground, to the districts to the
constituencies, to the polling centers," said Chiweshe. "We are doing
President Thabo Mbeki, who facilitated talks between
the MDC and Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF last year, has said he hopes the
parties will return to the table.
"It is still necessary that
the political leadership of Zimbabwe should get together and find a
solution to the challenges that face Zimbabwe," he said. "So I would
hope that leadership would still be open to a process which would
result in them coming to some agreement about what happens to their
But on Sunday Tsvangirai made it plain he wants a
broader African involvement in Zimbabwe including the African Union.
The AU said in a statement Monday it is gravely concerned about the
situation in Zimbabwe.