Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 14:45 UK

Power-sharing call for Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe
The opposition says Robert Mugabe should admit defeat and stand down

Whoever wins Zimbabwe's presidential election will have to form a government of national unity, the country's UN ambassador has said.

"There is no way anybody can do without the other," Boniface Chidyausiku told the BBC, arguing that neither side could really control parliament.

Meanwhile, some 200 opposition activists have been released.

The final parliamentary results are due to be released shortly, after which presidential results will be verified.

A report on the situation in Zimbabwe is to be presented to the UN Security Council later on Tuesday.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has called on the UN to send a special envoy and to warn President Robert Mugabe that increasing violence against opposition activists amounts to "crimes against humanity".

[The delay] is definitely a world record and it's not something to be proud of
Jonathan Moyo
Independent MP

The MDC says 15 of its supporters have been killed since the elections and hundreds forced to flee their homes.

Mr Mugabe's allies say the scale of the violence has been exaggerated.

Foreign ministers in the European Union, which has a ban on the sale of arms to Zimbabwe, have called on other countries to impose a similar policy.

The ministers urged others to introduce "a de facto moratorium on all such sales".

Earlier, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported that opposition supporters had attacked an army training camp, leaving one person dead.


MDC lawyer Alec Muchadehama said that the opposition activists arrested on Friday had all been freed without charge.

The High Court had ordered that they be either released or charged on Monday.

"The police had no basis to hold them for this long. I am angry because they need not have been arrested at all," Mr Muchadehama told Reuters news agency.

Arthur Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai
The two opposition factions say they have reunited against Zanu-PF

The police said the arrests at the MDC headquarters were in connection with political violence but the MDC said most of those detained were the victims of such violence, and had fled their homes in rural areas.

The two MDC factions on Monday said they had reunited and would therefore have a majority in parliament.

This was confirmed over the weekend, when the unchanged results of 18 of 23 seats being recounted were released.

But Mr Chidyausiku argued that a two-thirds majority was needed to change the constitution and said there was a "hung parliament".

However, President Mugabe's Zanu-PF governed without such a majority between 2000 and 2005.

Last week, the Herald, seen as a government mouthpiece, ran an opinion piece calling for a government of national unity.

Mr Chidyausiku told the BBC's Network Africa programme that it would be possible for the rival political leaders to work together and pointed to the example of Kenya, where a power-sharing government was set up after violence in which 1,500 people were killed.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he would be prepared to form an inclusive government.

However, Zanu-PF spokesman Bright Matonga told the AFP news agency that his party could never work with Mr Tsvangirai because he was a "sell-out".

'Totally false'

Elections officials say that the process of verifying presidential results will start after final parliamentary results are announced.

But they warn it could take as long as a week, as they will only be released after both sides agree.

The elections were held a month ago, on 29 March.

"It's definitely a world record and it's not something to be proud of," said Zimbabwean independent MP and former Mugabe ally Jonathan Moyo.

"And, when it comes, its credibility will be irretrievably compromised," he said.

But Mr Chidyausiku dismissed as "totally false" the argument that the delay was to give Zanu-PF time to rig the outcome.

He pointed out that similar claims were made when the electoral commission said it was recounting 23 parliamentary results.

Mr Tsvangirai says he won the election outright and has called on Mr Mugabe to step down.

"The old man must go and have an honourable exit."

But independent monitors and Mr Mugabe's allies say that neither candidate passed the threshold of more than 50% of the vote required to be declared the president and so a run-off will be needed.


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