Leaders seek Zimbabwe ´government of unity´

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African Union leaders are calling for a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and his opponent Morgan Tsvangarai following a controversial vote that was declared a victory for Mugabe.

The leaders, at the end of a two-day summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, approved a resolution calling for the ”creation of a government of national unity,” but the idea was dismissed by Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba. Zimbabwe would not follow Kenya’s example and create a unity government, Charamba said. ”We have our own history of evolving dialogue and resolving political impasses the Zimbabwean way. The Zimbabwean way, not the Kenyan way,” he told reporters. Mugabe ran unopposed after Tsvangirai dropped out of the race, citing widespread violence, intimidation and vote rigging. The poll, marred by violence and killings, provoked unprecedented African criticism. Western threats to sanction Zimbabwe have angered some African leaders. Gabon ‘s President Omar Bongo, the region’s longest serving head of state, said of Mugabe: ”He was elected, he took an oath, and he is here with us, so he is president, and we cannot ask him more.” African Union commissioner Ramtan Lamamra of Algeria denounced the prospect of sanctions, saying they are not the best tool of modern diplomacy. One lone voice at the AU summit, Botswana, called for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the AU and Southern African Development Community meetings. ”Botswana’s position is that the outcome of these elections does not confer legitimacy on the government of President Mugabe,” Vice President Mompati S. Merfahe told the summit. The Southern Africa’s Election Observer Mission faulted the voting, which they said, ”did not represent the will of the people of Zimbabwe.” Special to the NNPA from GIN

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