Regional leaders meet in Swaziland on Wednesday to discuss Zimbabwe's political deadlock, though South African President Thabo Mbeki will not be invited. (Report: N. Germain)
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called for world leaders to back their tough rhetoric with "military force" in his country, in a comment piece published Wednesday.
Tsvangirai wrote in The Guardian newspaper that the United Nations had to go further than verbal condemnation of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and move on to "active isolation" which required "a force to protect the people."
"We do not want armed conflict, but the people of Zimbabwe need the words of indignation from global leaders to be backed by the moral rectitude of military force," he wrote.
"Such a force would be in the role of peacekeepers, not trouble-makers.
"They would separate the people from their oppressors and cast the protective shield around the democratic process for which Zimbabwe yearns."
Tsvangirai noted that "intervention is a loaded concept in today's world, of course."
"Yet, despite the difficulties inherent in certain high-profile interventions, decisions not to intervene have created similarly dire consequences."
He wrote that a "new election, devoid of violence and intimidation, is the only way to put Zimbabwe right."
International calls to postpone Friday's runoff vote have intensified, with UN chief Ban Ki-moon warning that holding the election "would only deepen the divisions within the country and produce results that cannot be credible."
Tsvangirai announced over the weekend he was pulling out of the election because of rising violence, saying he could not ask supporters to risk their lives by casting ballots.
The government, however, has defied global criticism by vowing to push ahead with the runoff, even as the opposition leader remained holed up in the Dutch embassy.
Date created : 2008-06-25