A GNU does not address the problems facing Zimbabwe or acknowledge the will of the Zimbabwean peo

HARARE - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has welcomed an African Union call for power sharing in the southern African country but said the negotiations must be based on the March 29 results and must move towards the installation of a transitional government that will oversee new internationally supervised, free and fair presidential elections.

In a draft resolution issued yesterday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Shikh in Egypt where 53 African heads of State were meeting, the African Union (AU) urged Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai to honour their commitment to initiate dialogue.

But Tsvangirai, who was addressing a news conference at his Strathaven residence Wednesday afternoon, took great exception to the statement saying it did not recognize the illegitimacy of the June 27 elections and the fact that most African leaders refused to recognize Mugabe as the Head of State.

Tsvangirai said the resolution endorsed the concept of a Government of National Unity (GNU) without acknowledging that the MDC, as the winner of the last credible elections on March 29, should be recognized as the legitimate government of Zimbabwe.

A GNU does not address the problems facing Zimbabwe or acknowledge the will of the Zimbabwean people, Tsvangirai told reporters and diplomats. While the MDC remains committed to negotiations these must be based on the 29th March results and must move towards a transitional agreement. Our commitment to a negotiated settlement is not about power-sharing or power deals but about democracy, freedom and justice.  Our struggle is not about power but about democracy.

Tsvangirai, who has returned home from the Dutch embassy where he has been holed over the past one and half week, said before dialogue with Mugabe can commence, it was essential that Zanu (PF) stops the violence, halts the persecution of MDC leaders and supporters, releases all political prisoners, disbands the militia bases and torture camps and that the security services halt their partisan operations.

Since the June 27 sham election, nine MDC supporters have been murdered, hundreds more beaten and forced to leave their homes, he said. In Manicaland alone, since the weekend, five hundred MDC supporters and families have been forced to flee their homes and are now seeking refuge at the party’s headquarters in Mutare. Therefore the MDC reiterates its call for peace in  the country.

The AU defied calls by Western leaders to criticize Mugabe, who fraudulently won a sixth term as Zimbabwe’s president in a runoff election on June 27 that African observers said wasn’t free or fair. Tsvangirai pulled out of the ballot because he said state- sponsored violence has killed at least 95 of his supporters and made 200,000 homeless.

While Tsvangirai won the March 29 presidential election, he didn’t garner the 50 percent needed to avoid a second round of voting, according to the electoral authorities here. MDC secured control of the lower house of parliament in the earlier poll and also controls the local authorities.

The AU mentioned in passing that it was deeply concerned by the prevailing situation in Zimbabwe after it received negative reports by African observer missions in Zimbabwe. Both the Pan African Parliament and SADC observer teams said the poll was not free and fair and fell far short of what could be termed a credible election.

But Tsvangirai said: The resolution does not adequately deal with the ongoing violence in Zimbabwe.

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