South Africa's Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu on Thursday urged southern African leaders to persuade embattled Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down, dpa reported.
Making his second emphatic call for Mugabe to step aside since Zimbabwe's disputed March 29 elections, Tutu said southern African countries could no longer afford leaders who wanted to cling to power for egotistical reasons.
They had other issues to contend with, such as poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Addressing a conference on education and leadership in Western Cape province Tutu said he hoped South Africa would take charge of convincing the 84-year-old president to salvage his legacy by stepping down with dignity.
Mugabe has so far rejected calls to resign after his apparent second-place finish in last month's presidential elections to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai claims he won the election outright. Mugabe's Zanu-PF party says a runoff is needed to establish a clear winner - a tacit admission Mugabe took fewer votes.
The state-controlled election commission has withheld the results of the election from the public for close to four weeks citing first the need for "verification," then a partial recount.