International criticism is mounting against Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe, who plans to go ahead with this week's election, despite the
withdrawal of the political opposition.
leaders held an emergency meeting Wednesday in Swaziland's capital,
Mbabane and called for Friday's presidential runoff election to be
U.S. President George Bush said the election
appears to be a sham. He said there can not be free elections when a
candidate is not allowed to campaign without fear of intimidation.
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told VOA on Straight Talk Africa
Wednesday that the safety of all Zimbabweans is at risk because of
violent conditions in the country. He was speaking from the Dutch
embassy in Harare where he has sought refuge because of safety
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga disputed Mr. Tsvangirai's claim that the situation in Zimbabwe is unsafe.
Tsvangirai announced his decision to withdraw from the poll on Sunday,
saying violence against his supporters made the election impossible.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela said there is a tragic failure of leadership in Zimbabwe.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga warned that if the world does not act now,
Zimbabwe could face the kind of disaster seen in Rwanda, a reference to
the 1994 genocide there.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
announced Wednesday that his government is preparing new economic
sanctions against members of Mr. Mugabe's government.
British Foreign Office announced that Queen Elizabeth has stripped Mr.
Mugabe of his honorary British knighthood, as a mark of revulsion at
his government's abuse of human rights. Britain also announced it is
suspending all cricket ties with the African country.
developments, about 300 people have taken refuge at the South African
embassy in Harare. A refuge advocacy group, Refugees International,
called Wednesday for Zimbabweans fleeing political violence to receive
protection in neighboring countries until they can return safely.