Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Zimbabwe's Cricket Team 'Unwelcome' Pressure Mounts on Mugabe

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Zimbabwe's Cricket Team 'Unwelcome' Pressure Mounts on Mugabe

Article excerpt

Byline: James Tapsfield

GORDON Brown has insisted Zimbabwe's cricket team will be "unwelcome" in the UK as pressure increased on Robert Mugabe's regime.

Downing Street signalled strong opposition to a mooted visit by the side next summer and also expressed "serious concern" about the country participating in the Twenty20 World Cup.

"Under the current circumstances it is the Government's view that the tour would clearly be unwelcome," the Prime Minister's spokesman said yesterday.

The intervention came as South Africa's ruling ANC delivered its toughest criticism so far of Mugabe, accusing him of "riding roughshod" over democracy.

The party insisted it could not remain "indifferent to the flagrant violation of every principle of democratic governance".

The UN Security Council also issued a statement condemning the "campaign of violence against the political opposition ahead of the second round of presidential elections".

It said the killing and torture of scores of opposition activists had made it "impossible for a free and fair election to take place" on Friday.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formally withdrew from the presidential run-off yesterday. Its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is generally believed to have won the first round of voting outright - although official results put him fractionally short of the majority needed.

It has emerged that Mr Tsvangirai was fleeing troops when he took refuge in the Dutch Embassy in Harare.

Details of his frantic dash to safety were revealed by Senegal's president Abdoulaye Wade who has been trying to mediate in the Zimbabwean crisis.

Mr Wade said he had hoped to persuade President Robert Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai to share power.

"I can say that this objective has been almost completely snuffed out since I have learned that soldiers went after Morgan Tsvangirai at his residence on Sunday," he said. …

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