Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Monday, 4 July 2005 16:45 UK

G8 leaders urged to attack Mugabe

Morgan Tsvangirai
Mr Tsvangirai blames lack of democracy for Africa's debt problem

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has urged leaders meeting at the G8 summit this week to condemn President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Tsvangirai also said African heads' refusal to criticise the Zimbabwean leader endangered their "credibility".

He has accused Mr Mugabe of targeting his supporters in a slum demolition campaign that the UN estimates has left more than 200,000 homeless.

The G8 summit this week is to focus on reducing debt and poverty in Africa.

The nationalists who assumed political power at Independence have left a legacy of intolerance, tyranny, dictatorship and corruption

In an article for the BBC News website, Mr Tsvangirai has argued that Africa's debt problem is "essentially political".

"Eliminating poverty requires a deliberate setting up of deep democratic roots in our countries," he writes.

Leaders from the world's eight richest countries - the UK, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy, Russia, France and the US - will meet at the Scottish resort of Gleneagles on Wednesday.

Several heads of state from Africa are also expected to attend, including South African leader Thabo Mbeki, who has been criticised by the Zimbabwean opposition for his refusal to condemn Mr Mugabe.

UN verdict

During a visit to South Africa, Mr Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), called for Mr Mugabe to be called to account.

"The African leadership themselves should... condemn what is taking place in Zimbabwe if their credibility is to be enhanced at the G8," Mr Tsvangirai said.

"We want to see a strong message that this regime has gone beyond what is acceptable behaviour of any government and that it must be called to order," he said.

Zimbabwe's powerful neighbour, South Africa, has so far rejected calls to criticise Mr Mugabe over the urban slum demolition scheme, saying it will wait for a visiting UN team to give its verdict.

UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka arrived in Zimbabwe last week to examine the impact of the demolitions and is expected to remain in the country until Friday.

Mr Mugabe has said the assault on the urban slums was part of a crackdown on crime and illegal businesses.

Morgan Tsvangirai is appearing on a special BBC TV Question Time debate from Johannesburg about African issues to be shown as follows.

BBC One: Thursday 7 July 2005, 2235BST
BBC World: Saturday 9 July 2005, 0710 and 1510GMT;
Sunday 10 July 2005, 1210 and 1910GMT.

The programme can also be viewed during broadcast or at any time after from the Question Time website

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific