Tsvangirai consults Obasanjo

NIGERIA'S urgent intervention is required in the current political crisis in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said on Monday in Ota, Ogun State, reports The Vanguard, Lagos.

Tsvangirai was at the Ota farm of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to enlist the country’s support. He said Obasanjo was his mentor.
The crisis in Zimbabwe followed the inability of the country’s Electoral Commission to release the full results of the March 29 presidential and parliamentary elections in which the MDC is claiming victory.

The MDC says it won 111 seats in the 210-seat parliament, while Tsvangirai polled 50.3 per cent of the presidential ballots.

The electoral commission is currently going on with a recount of the votes as demanded by the ruling ZANU-PF.

“Nigeria played a significant role during our struggle for independence, and the crisis in Zimbabwe requires the attention of a country like Nigeria,’ Tsvangirai said at the Ota farm.

He said, however, that his movement would also reach out to the AU, although the Southern African Development Community met a week ago to mediate in the crisis.

“With the situation we are facing in the country, especially with regard to the violence and the manipulation of the electoral commission, we require a broader dimension,” he said.

Tsvangirai is adamant he won the presidential election and his party has said he would not contest a run-off unless a secure environment is guaranteed.

Tsvangirai described as “funny,” allegation that he was a stooge of the West. “The people of Zimbabwe did not think that way as they elected me as their president, and the description ascribed to me has nothing to do with my situation,” he said.

He also said his party would “rationalise” the programme on land reform begun by President Robert Mugabe. “We have no intention to reverse the land reform programme but to ensure that we have a rationalised programme where land is equitably distributed, where land is given to the landless and where land can be productive,” he said. The MDC leader said the aim would be to boost food production in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai said as the father of the nation, Mugabe would be assigned a significant role if the MDC came to power. “He played a significant role in the struggle for liberation of the country and whatever transpires cannot take away that contribution” he said.
The current recount may lead to a run-off vote. Last Friday, the Zimbabwe High Court rejected an application by the MDC to stop the recount.

Meanwhile, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has criticised the inaction of African leaders on the crisis. He said they should do more to resolve the matter.

On his part, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would discuss the issue at the ongoing UN trade and development conference in Ghana.


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