As for ‘no crisis’ Mbeki, blind fool walking.
Does he even care anymore that he looks like a twat to the world?
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Wth only three weeks to go before Zimbabwe’s presidential run-off election, President Robert Mugabe has intensified his crackdown on the opposition.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was yesterday detained, along with other senior party officials, while campaigning for the June 27 poll.
He was released late last night — eight hours after being taken into custody.
“They’ve just been released without charge. The police were saying he addressed an unsanctioned meeting ... They were held for eight hours before their release,” Tsvangirai’s lawyer Job Sibanda said.
The MDC leader’s detention came just five days after he returned to Zimbabwe for the run-off poll.
He is the third prominent opposition leader to be held in the past three days.
Arthur Mutumbara, who leads a break- away MDC faction that has decided to back Tsvangirai in the election, was arrested on Sunday for writing a newspaper article critical of Mugabe.
US President George Bush urged the Southern African Development Community on Tuesday to “blanket the country with election and human rights monitors immediately”.
He said the Zimbabwean government was using violence to stop the opposition campaigning.
The development community has since said it will increase the number of election observers it sends to the country.
Earlier yesterday, George Sibotshiwe, a spokesman for Tsvangirai, told The Times from the Lupane police station, southwest of Harare, that the Zimbabwean police had stopped the convoy of cars in which Tsvangirai was travelling at a roadblock. The MDC leader and four of his senior colleagues were detained.
Shortly before he was arrested, Tsvangirai addressed MDC supporters in Lupane. He was on his way to Tsholotsho when his convoy was stopped by police and members of the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation.
“After stopping us, they asked for individuals’ documentation as well as vehicle registration papers. The police said nothing further and just detained us,’’ Sibotshiwe said.
The MDC leader was reportedly taken to the local police station, held for eight hours and then released.
Earlier, MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti said: “This is Zimbabwe and there are no guarantees.
‘‘They are going to make sure they suppress us as much as possible.
‘‘It’s only a few days to go and we have barely covered two rallies.”
President Thabo Mbeki’s spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, said the president would not comment on the detention.
Mbeki is SADC’s chief mediator in the conflict between the MDC and Mugabe’s government. He has been widely criticised for not taking action against Mugabe.
The Sunday Times revealed at the weekend that the MDC leader wrote a scathing letter to Mbeki in which he demanded that he step down as mediator in Zimbabwe.
The letter accuses Mbeki of colluding with Mugabe to sustain the Zimbabwean “dictatorship”. But yesterday Chikane and Ratshitanga denied that Mbeki had received the letter.
“The presidency reiterates that Mbeki has not received any such letter from Tsvangirai. Nor has any official in the presidency or the South African government received any such letter from any member of the MDC,” Ratshitanga said.
Chikane said: “It does not exist as far as I am concerned.”
Chikane said he had not read the letter on the Sunday Times website but was adamant that it was part of a “disinformation campaign”.
Asked how he had come to this conclusion without investigating the authenticity of the letter, he said there had been no communication with the MDC about the letter and he was not going to make any enquiries.
DA leader Helen Zille said yesterday that the detention of Tsvangirai should “spur” Mbeki into “taking decisive action” against Mugabe.
She said: “Tsvangirai’s arrest proves beyond all doubt that Mugabe will seek to retain power at all costs.
“There is no way that a presidential run-off will be free and fair under these circumstances. Surely even Mbeki must see that now.”