US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Africa to "step up" its role in defusing the political crisis in Zimbabwe over the disputed outcome of last month's presidential election. ( dpa )
"It's time for Africa to step up," Rice told reporters. "Where is the concern from the African Union and from Zimbabwe's neighbors about what is going on in Zimbabwe?"
Rice would not say whether longtime President Robert Mugabe should concede defeat in the election, but accused him of harming his country in recent years with failed economic policies and repressive rule.
"The last years have been really an abomination to a country that used to feed its neighbors and now it can't feed itself," Rice said.
South Africa, which is believed to have considerable leverage in Zimbabwe, has been criticized for not doing enough to pressure Mugabe's government amidst the country's deteriorating economic and human-rights situation.
Zimbabwean election officials have refused to release the results of the March 29 election. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has claimed he has won the election outright - a position backed by some independent observers. Mugabe argues a run-off is needed.
Rice called on Zimbabwe to release the results.
"The longer they hold the results of the election, the more suspicion grows that something is being plotted and planned by the ruling party," Rice said.