|May 24, 2008
MDC leader back in Zimbabwe
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has returned to Zimbabwe for an election runoff with President Robert Mugabe despite his party's fears he might be assassinated by government agents.
Tsvangirai has been travelling abroad since April 8 on a diplomatic drive to pressure Mugabe to surrender power following a March 29 presidential poll, which he says he won outright. But Zimbabwe's electoral commission says he did not get enough votes for a straight victory and must face Mugabe in a June 27 runoff.
Before, MDC's efforts to persuade regional leaders to put pressure on Mugabe have largely failed. South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, the mediator appointed by the Southern African Development Community, received a report on the violence recently, and is now said to believe a unity government is the only way out of the crisis. Mbeki was reported to have discussed the proposal with Mugabe when he visited Harare. Tsvangirai has confirmed talks on a unity government have taken place, and last week dropped his insistence that Mugabe play no part in it. The government remained defiant, insisting that the run-off would go ahead on 27 June without any of the MDC pre-conditions. There were unconfirmed reports yesterday that it had finally taken delivery of a consignment of Chinese arms, delayed when South African port workers refused to offload the ship carrying them.
(Rts/Zimbabwe Online, The Independent)