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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Sunday, 24 March, 2002, 18:58 GMT
Tutu condemns SA stance on Zimbabwe
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Tutu said Zimbabwe's elections were flawed
South African Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has criticised his country's decision to recognise the result of Zimbabwe's recent controversial presidential elections.

Archbishop Tutu said he was "deeply, deeply, deeply distressed and deeply disappointed" after South Africa declared the elections to have been legitimate.


When democracy is not being upheld, we ought, for our own sakes, to say it is not so

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was returned to power in the polls, which foreign and independent observer missions said were marred by violence and intimidation.

Despite sanctioning the outcome, South Africa backed a Commonwealth decision to suspend Zimbabwe from the organisation for a year.

Speaking on South African public television, the archbishop said: "I think we do ourselves a very bad turn to claim that we hold to the ideals of democracy, freedom... freedom of speech and then to endorse, as seems to have been done, something that was so clearly flawed."

"When democracy is not being upheld, we ought, for our own sakes, to say it is not so," said Archbishop Tutu.

He said he supported the decision to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe "with a very heavy heart, hoping that President Mugabe and his government elected in a flawed election will draw back from the edge of the precipice".

Mixed findings

The Commonwealth observer group, along with European and local missions in Zimbabwe, condemned the election

Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe has been suspended from the Commonwealth

However, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) observer team said that "in general the elections were transparent, credible, free and fair".

Meanwhile, opposition officials in Zimbabwe said on Sunday that hundreds of their supporters have been forced out of their homes in the Gokwe region by Mr Mugabe's followers.

More than 100 people have been killed in political violence blamed on Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party in the past two years, including 10 white farmers murdered when their farms were taken over by militias.


Key stories

The vote

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REGIONAL ROUNDUP
See also:

18 Mar 02 | Africa
Mbeki faces Zimbabwe test
14 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Straw condemns Mugabe 'tragedy'
13 Mar 02 | Africa
Africa backs Mugabe win
15 Mar 02 | Africa
Zimbabwe enacts media curbs
15 Mar 02 | Africa
Africa goes easy on Mugabe
17 Mar 02 | Africa
Mugabe pledges rapid land reform
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