Monday, April 21, 2008

MDC seeks Kenya's intervention to end Zimbabwe stalemate

HARARE - Zimbabwe main opposition, Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) has appealed to the Kenyan government to intervene in solving the election stalemate in Zimbabwe.

Following the latest election standoff in Zimbabwe, MDC top officials led by its Secretary General Tendai Biti, intimated that they came to seek Kenya’s intervention over their country’s electoral stand-off as Kenya had gone through a similar conflict. MDC officials held private talks with Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga who promised to table the Zimbabwe issue for debate by the Kenyan Cabinet. Odinga said that the Kenyan government was saddened by the situation in Zimbabwe and warned that if African countries failed to treat the Zimbabwe fiasco “as a matter urgency”, the situation would degenerate into chaos. Asked why they chose Kenya to unlock their election debacle, Biti said: “We have come to Kenya because of its uniqueness and its basic resemblance with our crisis. Kenyan people feel the pains their counterparts in Zimbabwe were experiencing," he said. The Zimbabwe debacle was instigated by delay in announcing the Presidential results. Incumbent President Robert Mugabe has been accused of withholding the results and calling for a run off.

MDC on the other hand claims victory in the March 29 elections. Its leader Morgan Tsvangirai vowed to leave no stone unturned until justice prevailed. He is currently traversing the Southern African region, soliciting support from leaders to intervene in the deadlock.

In a related development, the MDC leader has criticized South Africa President Thabo Mbeki for turning his back on Zimbabwe. In a recent BBC program, Tsvangirai said he preferred Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa over Mbeki, in trying to solve the Zimbabwe electoral crisis. And the MDC officials in Kenya were optimistic that the Kenyan government would help solve the current problem facing Zimbabwe. They termed the recent grand coalition government in Kenya as a ‘beacon of hope’ for many African countries struggling with shuttled democracies.

Meanwhile Raila Odinga has said that he will seek the African Union guidance to try and solve the crisis in Zimbabwe. “I will liaise with the current chair of AU, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and other African diplomats to try and bring an end to the Zimbabwe debacle.

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