November 18, 2004

Tsvangirai warned not to call for further sanctions

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has announced that it would continue to support targeted sanctions against top officials, despite a warning that the party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, may not be allowed back home from his European tour if he lobbied for further sanctions against President Robert Mugabe. During talks with the Swedish leadership, Tsvangirai reportedly called on the European Union to extend sanctions against the Harare government. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was quoted in the Herald newspaper as telling parliament that Tsvangirai was the government's worst enemy for lobbying for sanctions on his fellow countrymen. "If Mr Tsvangirai called for sanctions, I don't expect he would want to return to this country. I can't think of any other description other than to say state enemy number one," he added, without elaborating.

Tsvangirai has been on a series of foreign trips since he was acquitted of treason last month. Having already met with leaders in South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria, the opposition leader is expected to hold talks with top EU officials and travel to Norway, Denmark and Britain. Observers say the diplomatic offensive was a necessary move to raise the regional and international profile of the opposition party. (Rts)

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