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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Tutu calls for action on Zimbabwe
Desmond Tutu
Tutu said diplomatic efforts on Zimbabwe had failed
The former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, has called for tougher action to end the crisis in Zimbabwe.

He told a British television station that South Africa's "softly-softly" diplomatic approach had failed and more forthright measures were needed.

His remarks came as Zimbabwe's main opposition reported progress at South African-mediated talks with President Mugabe's government, held in Pretoria.

In Harare a strike called in protest at living costs is being largely ignored.

"All of us Africans must hang our heads in shame for having allowed such a desperate situation to continue almost without anybody doing anything to try and stop it," Archbishop Tutu said in London.

Zimbabwe supermarket
Inflation and food shortages are commonplace in the cities

The Pretoria talks appear to have led to a surprise deal on constitutional changes.

Both factions of the MDC agreed not to offer resistance to draft constitutional amendments put forward by the governing Zanu-PF, even though there was speculation the changes would strengthen President Mugabe's position and allow him to choose his own successor.

The constitutional amendments will pave the way for joint parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008.

Thokozani Khupe, deputy leader of the main MDC faction, said in parliament: "As a confidence-building measure we have made a bold decision not to stand in the way of the constitutional amendments."

Economic woes

Something extreme needs to be done to stop the human rights abuses occurring there
Aicha, London

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) called for a two-day general strike in protest at the escalating cost of living and a salary freeze decreed by the President.

But reports from the capital, Harare, suggest it was business as usual on Wednesday, with workers saying previous protests had not achieved anything and they could not afford to forfeit wages.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate at an estimated 7,000%, and four out of five Zimbabweans live below the poverty line.

Opposition reaction to the constitutional deal

Constitutional deal in Zimbabwe
18 Sep 07 |  Africa

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