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Zuma: Zimbabwe is out of control

The situation in Zimbabwe is now out of control, African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma told a conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

”You now need a political arrangement there, and then further down the line an election,” he said.

He added that the liberation movement values that the ANC once shared with Zanu-PF were no longer there.

”We cannot agree with Zanu-PF. We cannot agree with them on values,” Zuma said.

”We fought for the right of people to vote, we fought for democracy.”

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), meanwhile, on Tuesday said that the United Nations should put Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his officials on trial in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Party leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe said this was in view of the apparent state-sponsored murder and torture of members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the public in Zimbabwe.

”We are shocked and repulsed by the terror tactics of Mugabe and his forces against a completely defenceless public as displayed in news reports.

”We extend our condolences to those tortured and those who lost loved ones in the political violence.”

The ACDP said those calling for a government of national unity that included Mugabe were trying to protect a cruel leader from prosecution and should not be taken seriously.

The party also said the decision by the MDC to withdraw from the run-off elections was a courageous one.

The ACDP called on the international community, particularly the African Union and UN, to intervene in the crisis. He said the Southern African Development Community had dismally failed Zimbabweans.

”There must be an immediate end to this senseless violence,” he said.

Meanwhile, the violence in Zimbabwe could descend into genocide like that in Rwanda in 1994, former international envoy Paddy Ashdown warned on Tuesday.

Military intervention in Zimbabwe had to remain an option, the former high representative for Bosnia told the Times of London, while also lamenting the ”thunderous” silence of South African President Thabo Mbeki.

”The situation in Zimbabwe could deteriorate to a point where genocide could be a possible outcome — something that looks like Rwanda,” he said, referring to the slaughter by ethnic Hutus of about 800 000 people, mainly Tutsis.

Ashdown added that were the situation to deteriorate to that point, military intervention, with Britain playing a ”delicate role” due to its history as Zimbabwe’s former colonial ruler, would have to be an option.

Ashdown, a member of the British Parliament’s upper chamber, told BBC radio that diplomatic efforts could still prove fruitful, though Mbeki’s role was crucial.

”I think the UN Security Council resolution and the UN secretary general’s statement yesterday [Monday] is likely to be influential and have an effect,” he said.

”Secondly, the key person in this is Thabo Mbeki, and so far his silence has been thunderous.

”If it were the case that in addition to all the other African friends who have so far supported Mugabe, Mbeki, who is under pressure to do this anyway from within South Africa, were to come out in a very strong statement, I think that would have an effect.

”So there is a diplomatic game to play through here and I think it’s not without hope of success.”

The comments from the former leader of Britain’s opposition Liberal Democrat party came amid increased tension in Zimbabwe, with MDC chief Morgan Tsvangirai taking refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, who has called for Zimbabwe’s presidential election run-off to be postponed, said soldiers entered the home of Tsvangirai on the weekend, forcing him to flee.

”I learned that soldiers entered Morgan Tsvangirai’s home on Sunday June 22, looking for him and that he is only safe because, alerted by friends, he left in a hurry a few minutes earlier,” Wade said in a statement.

The Times also reported, without citing its sources, that Britain had two contingency plans with regard to the Zimbabwean election, one of which involved the deployment of troops into the country.

Both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office in London declined to comment on the report when contacted by AFP. — Sapa, Reuters, AFP

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