Zimbabwe opposition leader arrives in Mauritius

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrived in Mauritius on Tuesday and met Prime Minister and Southern African Development Community chairperson Paul Berenger, officials said.

Details of their discussions were not immediately available.

Tsvangirai, who heads Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), travelled to the Indian Ocean island from South Africa where on Monday he met President Thabo Mbeki.

Earlier this month Tsvangirai was acquitted of plotting to kill Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe.

This is his first trip abroad since treason charges were levelled against him almost three years ago.

Mbeki had met the MDC leadership four times over the last four weeks in an attempt to find a solution to the growing rift between the opposition and Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections in March.

Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist, also met leaders of South Africa’s largest trade union, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Sunday.

Before Tsvangirai left Zimbabwe, his spokesperson William Bango, said the opposition leader would discuss regional guidelines on elections that Zimbabwe agreed to in August, but which Tsvangirai’s party accused the government of not implementing.

The MDC had suspended participation in any future elections, including general polls set for March next year, unless the government implements in full the SADC guidelines.

The regional body’s electoral guidelines include giving all parties access to the state media, allowing for freedom of association and the impartiality of electoral institutions.

The opposition claims none of these conditions exist in Zimbabwe. – Sapa-AFP

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