'Obsession with Mugabe won't help'

2012-07-25 14:37
Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe. (AP)

Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe. (AP)

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Cape Town – Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has urged the world to soften its stance on President Robert Mugabe, saying the veteran ruler is critical for a smooth transition of power in Zimbabwe.

NewDay reported on Wednesday that Tsvangirai told the Australian media there was too much obsession with Mugabe, and that this threatened a peaceful solution to the problems facing the county.

"There is a paranoid obsession with Mugabe of yesterday and the Mugabe who was part of the three-and-a-half years of the coalition government," Tsvangirai said.

"That is progressively - I think part of his pre-occupation with his legacy.

"And part of that legacy is to leave Zimbabwe in a stable and progressive future."

Tsvangirai, who is winding his official visit to New Zealand, told journalists in that country that "Mugabe is ready to cede power" even if elections planned for the troubled African nation do not go his way.

He said he did not believe Mugabe, who disputed election results in 2008 and eventually retained the presidency under a power-sharing deal, would risk another round of violence in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai said 88-year-old Mugabe, who has led the country since independence in 1980, wanted to protect his legacy and would abide by the result of a ballot scheduled to be held within the next 12 months.

"I'm sure he will accept the result," Tsvangirai.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai were forced into a coalition government three years ago to avoid a tip into fully-fledged conflict following a bloody presidential run-off election.


Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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