Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Zimbabwe's Christian churches reject Mugabe victory

Robert Mugabe ralling supporters
Mugabe's Inauguration Ceremony

Victim of violence:11 months old Blessing Mabhena whose legs an feet were broken by Mugabe loyalist soldiers with the ZANU-PF.Doctors doubt he will ever walk...
Victim of ZANU-PF violence Angela Campbell still unconcious after the severe beatings
Victim of ZANU-PF violence farmer Ben Freeth
Victim of ZANU-PF violence farmer Mike Campbell
HARARE-Zimbabwe's Christian community has rejected President Robert Mugabe's re-election last month as marred by violence and intimidation and expressed support for efforts to form a government of national unity.In a statement obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, the heads of all the churches in the predominantly Christian country said the race between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was marked by the worst violence since independence in 1980.Tsvangirai pulled out of a run-off ballot last month, citing a campaign of intimidation and killings by Mugabe supporters that Western governments said made his re-election illegitimate.U.S. President George W. Bush said on Tuesday he was disappointed Russia and China had vetoed broader sanctions against Mugabe and other Zimbabwean officials, but said the United States may impose tougher penalties of its own.In their statement, the Zimbabwean churches said they were "ready and committed to partner with all efforts that will result in a transitional authority and subsequently a government of national unity, to bring peace stability and reconciliation within the nation.The Heads of Christian Denominations said the torture, murder, abductions, displacement and psychological trauma had fatally undermined the election."Our conclusion is that the will of the people of Zimbabwe was not given authentic expression during these elections," they said, adding that the violence was continuing.Mugabe, 84, in power since the end of British rule, blames the opposition for the bloodshed.Tsvangirai has demanded the government halt all attacks on his supporters as one of several pre-conditions to negotiating with Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF.
Preliminary talks between Tsvangirai's MDC, a smaller faction of the party and ZANU-PF appear to have stalled despite the efforts of South African mediators to get all three to agree to a framework for more substantial negotiations.An opposition source said on Tuesday the talks were set to resume on Wednesday.Tsvangirai topped the first round but failed to get the absolute majority needed to avoid a second ballot.He wants an African Union envoy named to help mediate talks, something South African Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad rejected on Tuesday.South Africa and other AU members are pressuring Mugabe and Tsvangirai to accept a power-sharing deal similar to the one that ended post-election violence in Kenya earlier this year.African leaders see a unity government as the way to avert a spread of violence and total economic collapse in Zimbabwe, which has the world's highest inflation rate, estimated at more than 2 million percent, and chronic food and fuel shortages.The United States and Britain, among Mugabe's fiercest critics, have called on African nations to take a tougher stand on his government and Bush said Washington could act alone."I think the thing we need to do now is for us to analyze whether or not we can have some bilateral sanctions on the regime leaders," he said in Washington.
As in the days of Noah....

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