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Mbeki meets Mugabe, not Tsvangirai

Latest update : 2008-07-07

In his role as chief regional negotiator on the Zimbabwean crisis, Thabo Mbeki met with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during a trip to Harare. But opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai declined to meet the South African leader.

South African President Thabo Mbeki met Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Saturday to try to help end a political crisis, his spokesman said.

 

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said its leader Morgan Tsvangirai had declined to meet Mbeki, who has tried to mediate between the two sides after Mugabe's disputed re-election on June 27.

 

Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said: "Yes, the president earlier on Saturday met President Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara in the context of the mediation process." Mutambara leads a breakaway faction of the MDC.

 

Spokesman for the main MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said the party was "mandated to negotiate under the resolutions of the Africa Union and the Southern Africa Development Community ... on the basis that there is accountability (and) transparency".

 

"Unfortunately the planned meeting today did not comply with the framework we would have envisaged, a fruitful and beneficial dialogue. That is why we decided not to engage in that meeting with President Mbeki," he said.

 

"If we were meeting Mugabe as head of ZANU-PF no problem but not as head of state because we would have endorsed him but you know that his position is in dispute."

 

VOTE RIGGING

 

Mbeki's trip follows a June 27 runoff presidential election, in which Mugabe was the only candidate after Tsvangirai pulled out citing state sponsored violence.

 

Tsvangirai and his MDC have criticised Mbeki's mediation efforts, accusing him of siding with Mugabe. Mugabe says he supports Mbeki's role in the mediation.

 

Mugabe said on Friday the MDC must drop its claim to power and accept that he was the rightful head of state.

 

A film secretly taken by a Zimbabwe prison guard and smuggled out of the country shows rigging that took place for the June 27 presidential run-off vote, the Guardian newspaper in Britain said on Saturday.

 

The film taken by Shepherd Yuda using a camera supplied by the newspaper showed prison staff being told by a war veteran how to fill in their ballot papers for Robert Mugabe.

 

Date created : 2008-07-05

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