Tsvangirai floats unity Zimbabwe government on Africa tour

Other News Materials 9 April 2008 13:20

(dpa) - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday indicated he was open to the formation of a unity government with elements of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Speaking to South African radio from Botswana where he held talks with President Seretse Ian Khama, Tsvangirai said that, once Zimbabwe's election standoff was resolved, "we must move towards forming a government that has space for everyone."

Such a government would be a "more inclusive government that is not exclusive to just MDC," he said.

Asked what role 84-year-old Mugabe would have in such a formation Tsvangirai, 56, said that "would be subject to discussion" but he thought Zimbabwe's leader of the past 28 years should retire.

Tsvangirai is on a tour of African countries to court support for his declaration of victory over Mugabe in March 29 elections. On Monday he met with the president of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, Jacob Zuma.

The official results of the presidential vote have yet to be announced 11 days later.

The High Court in Harare was due to sit Wednesday to consider the MDC's urgent application for a court order forcing the state- controlled Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the results.

"I don't think it augurs very well," Zuma said in an interview with South Africa's state SABC broadcaster Tuesday when asked about the delayed results.

Tsvangirai claims he won outright with 50.3 per cent of the vote but a non-profit election observation organization estimated that, based on a sample of the results, neither he nor Mugabe took more than the 50 per cent plus one vote needed to avert a second round.

Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is demanding a recount of the vote and is also challenging its defeat in elections to the 210-seat House of Assembly (lower house of parliament).

Tsvangirai rejected a scenario where Mugabe would remain on as president and the opposition, which won 109 of the 210-seats in the House of Assembly, would control parliament.

Mugabe, in that case, would be a "lame-duck president," said Tsvangirai. "I think it would be a constitutional crisis."