Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has called for greater
African involvement in Zimbabwe's crises. And as VOA's Delia Robertson
reports from our southern Africa bureau in Johannesburg, the Movement
for Democratic Change leader added his voice to growing calls for a
transitional authority in his country.
Morgan Tsvangirai briefly
emerged from his refuge at the Dutch Embassy and told reporters in
Harare that the crisis in Zimbabwe demands greater African involvement,
supported by armed peacekeepers.
"I am asking the African Union
and SADC to lead an expanded initiative supported by the United Nations
to manage what I will call a transitional process," Tsvangirai
explained. "We are proposing that the AU facilitation team
comprising eminent Africans set up a transitional period which takes
into account will of the people of Zimbabwean as exercised on the 29th
Tsvangirai listed four requirements for a transitional program, but top of his list was an end to state-sponsored violence.
violence must stop," he said. "All structures and infrastructures of
violence must be withdrawn and disbanded . . . towards this objective,
amongst other things war veterans, youth militia and others encamped on
the edges of our cities, in towns and villages need to be sent home and
be reintegrated into out society. Unofficial roadblocks along the
roads and highways must be disbanded. These camps and roadblocks are
the checkpoints of violence."
President Robert Mugabe continues
to insist the presidential runoff poll will be held Friday as planned,
even though Mr. Tsvangirai has withdrawn from the race. Tsvangirai
said he remains convinced his decision to withdraw was the right
decision, and he again said he believes the election will be an
illegitimate sham. He said his decision has received widespread
support from within the region, the continent and the broad
Tsvangirai also repeated his belief
that a transitional period and dialogue are the only way forward for
Zimbabwe in the current climate.
"The transitional period would
allow the country to heal," Tsvangirai said. "Genuine and honest
dialogue among Zimbabweans is the only way forward. A negotiated
political settlement which allows the country to begin a national
healing and the process: a, of economic reconstruction; b, provision of
humanitarian assistance; and c, democratization would be in the best
interests of this country."
But he warned there could be no
talks while the party's number two, Tendai Biti and some "2,000"
political prisoners remain behind bars.