News and Information

Tsvangirai warned to stay out of Zim
November 18, 2004
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government has accused opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of mobilising support for more sanctions and warned him not to bother returning home to face the consequences of his actions.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told parliament Tsvangirai should not return home if he continued lobbying for new sanctions against the Mugabe regime. He said the Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC) continuing call for targeted sanctions was making Tsvangirai "the state's enemy number one".

"I don't think he would want to come back to this country," said Chinamasa.

Tsvangirai has said he was opposed to any sanctions that hurt the ordinary people of Zimbabwe but has called for a tightening of targeted sanctions against individual members of the Mugabe regime, a move that Mugabe has previously equated to treason.

This week Tsvangirai met Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson and Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds among other officials in Stockholm. He is due to have meetings with senior politicians in Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway as part of his aggressive drive to have the Mugabe regime isolated and forced to implement a new South African Development Community (SADC) charter on free and fair elections.

Tsvangirai has reportedly reiterated his call for the tightening of targeted sanctions in his meetings with European leaders.

The Mugabe regime had managed to keep Tsvangirai under virtual house arrest for close to three years while he answered to trumped-up treason charges. The High Court acquitted him of the charges last month.

The Mugabe government is so annoyed by the audiences that foreign leaders are giving Tsvangirai that its tightly controlled media dismissed President Thabo Mbeki as a virtual sell-out when he became the first foreign leader to meet Tsvangirai soon after his acquittal.

Tsvangirai himself seems aware of the dangers that await him when he returns home. Sources close to him said his programme had been arranged in such a way that he would meet all the foreign leaders that he wanted to meet before he returned home in two weeks' time.

This had been done to ensure that if he were arrested and charged upon his return, he would already have accomplished his mission abroad.

It is understood the state has already been contemplating amending the terms of Tsvangirai's bail conditions on his second treason charge so he has to surrender his passport.

The second charge arose from mass protests called by Tsvangirai early in 2003.

The state said the protests had been called to illegally topple the government.

Tsvangirai was released on Z$10-million (R10 500) bail but his passport was not covered as it had already been seized over the first treason charge of which he was acquitted last month.

Source: www.IOL>

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