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Saturday, 15 April, 2000, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Plea to challenge Mugabe
Morgan Tsvangirai
Mr Tsvangirai met Mr Cook on Friday
Zimbabwe's opposition leader has urged his countrymen living as refugees in the UK to return home to join the battle against President Robert Mugabe.

Morgan Tsvangirai told a rally in London on Saturday that the president had changed from being a liberation hero into a dictator who had led the country into "lawlessness and anarchy".

His comments came as Zimbabwe faces its worst economic and social crisis for more than 20 years.

Addressing more than 1,000 largely white people in Westminster's Methodist Central Hall, Mr Tsvangirai said: "We want you to participate in the political processes of your own country.

Robert Mugabe can run but he cannot hide

Morgan Tsvangirai

"We want you to come back home. The battle is not outside, the battle is in the changes at home.

"Robert Mugabe can run but he cannot hide," he added.

Mr Tsvangirai, who leads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has already warned Britain against turning President Robert Mugabe into a martyr.

On Friday he told UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook that Britain should attempt to establish dialogue with President Mugabe, and offer to fund land reform, in return for guarantees of democracy.

His comments came as Zimbabwe's war veterans insist that they will remain on white-owned farms.

They have been occupying the land for the past six weeks, despite comments from the country's vice-president, Joseph Msika, that their presence was no longer necessary.

President Mugabe has insisted that the transfer of white-owned land will go ahead, in spite of concerns from Britain and other European countries.

Mr Tsvangirai is in the UK to raise his party's international standing.

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See also:

15 Apr 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe war veterans defiant
14 Apr 00 | Africa
Profile: Morgan Tsvangirai
14 Apr 00 | Africa
Mugabe defies UK pressure
14 Apr 00 | Africa
Farm workers fear for jobs
11 Apr 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe edges towards election
10 Apr 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe 'powder keg' warning
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