Monday, June 30, 2008

Raila urges AU troops to resolve Zimbabwe "embarassment"

Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called for African Union (AU) troops to be sent in to Zimbabwe after President Robert Mugabe's "victory" in an uncontested presidential run-off.

The AU should deploy troops in Zimbabwe to resolve a crisis that has become an "embarrassment" to the continent, Mr Odinga was quoted as saying. "What is happening in Zimbabwe is a shame and an embarrassment to Africa in the eyes of the international community and should be denounced," he said in Swahili during a visit to his home province Nyanza in west Kenya. "So we are saying we want the African Union to send troops to Zimbabwe. The time has come for the African continent to stand firm in unity to end dictatorship," he added in the speech. Mr Odinga - a former opposition leader whose power-sharing agreement with President Mwai Kibaki after Kenya's disputed election is touted by some as a possible model for Zimbabwe - has been one of the most vocal critics of Mr Mugabe in Africa.

International critics are calling for action to end Mr Mugabe's 28-year rule after he went ahead with Friday's presidential run-off despite opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal because of killings of his supporters. Mr Tsvangirai says he will be pushing for talks with Mr Mugabe on a new constitution and fresh elections. In an interview with Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper Mr Tsvangirai said his party had the power to control parliament and it must force a transitional agreement for a set time frame and work towards a new constitution.

He said it would be achievable if international pressure were kept up.

In a separate interview with Britain's Sunday Telegraph Mr Tsvangirai raised the possibility of Mr Mugabe remaining as a figurehead president. He also took aim at South African President Thabo Mbeki, saying he wanted fellow African leaders to recognise his old ally Mr Mugabe as Zimbabwe's legitimate leader to ensure his widely-criticised mediation efforts could make progress. Although Western leaders have dismissed Friday's run-off election as a sham, Mr Mbeki has so far made no comment since the ballot and flew on Saturday to Egypt ahead of an African Union summit which Mr Mugabe is also set to attend. "I have received information that President Mbeki is lobbying at the African Union to have that position (that Mugabe is president) taken," Tsvangirai told the Sunday Times newspaper in South Africa.

Mr Odinga has been strident in his criticism of Friday's poll. "President Mugabe went ahead with the fake elections in which he competed against himself. That was a fake election and we do not recognise it," Mr Odinga said. "You can not say you have won an election in which you arrest your opponents, where you beat and kill your opponents, where people cannot campaign because you have locked them in jail."

Mr Odinga also responded to media reports that Mr Mugabe had said the Kenyan premier was persona non grata in Zimbabwe. "Mugabe says that Raila is his enemy number one. I do not need to go to Zimbabwe ... I don't intend to do so under Mugabe's leadership," he said in the comments carried by Kenyan newspapers and broadcasters.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The zimbabwe government has responded to kenyan prime minister, raila odinga’s calls for military action on zimbabwe and for the african union to expel the country from the group by saying he is not qualified to speak on zimbabwe as his hands ‘drip of blood’. In response to questions about recent utterances by prime minister odinga presidential spokesman, george charamba said: “you follow politics carefully.

I hope you follow kenyan politics closely. Prime minister raila odinga’s hands drip with blood,” said charamba. He continued, ”raw african blood, and that blood is not going to be cleansed by any amount of abuse of zimbabwe.”odinga has become one of the harshest critics of the zimbabwean government. He called for zimbabwe to be suspended from the african union until president robert mugabe allows ‘free and fair elections’ adding that the au would be making a grave mistake if it recognized president mugabe as a legitimately-elected president.he also asked the african union (au) to deploy peacekeeping forces in zimbabwe to protect opposition supporters from alleged harassment and torture.charamba’s response referred to kenya’s recent which saw raila odinga declared prime minister after coalition talks with president mwai kibaki.

The kenyan election was marred by the worst election violence ever seen on the continent, with 300 pre election deaths and over 1 500 people dying post election.the government of president kibaki accused odinga’s party of unleashing “genocide” on the kenyan people. The coalition government in kenya has not been without problems as violence has continued in kenya.kenyan politics is deeply embedded in tribalism with most members of parliament elected on the basis of tribal and community votes.recently tension has been rising in kenya’s rift valley, the epicentre of last january’s post-election chaos