Tsvangirai disowns article published in UK paper
By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had disowned an article published under his name in Britain’s Guardian newspaper on Wednesday in which he was said to have called for “words of indignation by world leaders to be backed by the moral rectitude of military force”.
Tsvangirai’s denial, issued late Wednesday, will raise questions about how much input he makes or indeed checks on articles passed onto newspapers under his name.
In the article, which has since been removed from the Guardian’s website, Tsvangirai was said to have slammed South African President Thabo Mbeki's approach towards Zimbabwe, saying it "sought to massage a defeated dictator rather than show him the door and prod him towards it.”
The Guardian could not clarify last night how the article was sent to it, but by Tsvangirai’s admission, the paper was “given assurances from credible sources that I had approved the article (although) this was not the case.”
The stunning U-turn will be a major embarrassment to Tsvangirai, who is keen to be seen as seeking African solutions to the Zimbabwean crisis against accusations by the Zimbabwe government that he is essentially a “puppet” of powerful western nations seeking to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Tsvangirai pulled out of Friday’s presidential election runoff on Sunday, citing violence against his supporters.
Zimbabwe's state-controlled newspaper, the Herald, addressed Tsvangirai's announcement in opinion pieces that urged the opposition leader to "grow up" and accused him of "grandstanding for a foreign audience while pretending to be doing it for the benefit of the people."
One such article said Tsvangirai was "dancing to the master’s tune" played from political offices in Washington and London.
Tsvangirai remains holed up in the Dutch Embassy in Harare after going there on Wednesday for "security reasons". His choice of the Dutch embassy has drawn criticsm from his critics and some of his supporters who feel he should have sought refuge in an African Embassy if there was a genuine threat to his life.
In his statement, Tsvangirai said he was “not advocating for military intervention in Zimbabwe by the United Nations or any other organisation”, a direct response to a call in the Guardian article for “peace keepers… to separate the people from their oppressors”.
Tsvangirai added: “The MDC is committed to finding an African solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe and appreciates the work of SADC in this regard. I am asking the African Union and SADC to lead an expanded initiative, supported by the United Nations, to manage the transitional process.
are proposing that the AU facilitation team, comprising eminent Africans,
set up a transitional period which takes into account the will of the
people of Zimbabwe.”
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