Prime minister calls for UN mission to Zimbabwe

A United Nations (UN) mission to Zimbabwe is essential in the wake of increasing violence against opposition supporters after last month’s election, the prime minister has argued.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has left for neighbouring South Africa, has claimed victory in the presidential elections on the basis of unofficial results posted outside polling stations with a partial recount on Friday confirming that Mr Tsvangirai’s party had pushed Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party into second place.

But a delay in the publication of presidential votes has increased fears that president Mugabe’s party may be attempting to falsify results.

British prime minister Gordon Brown, having raised the issue to the UN security council (UNSC) last week, has said the UK plans to increase diplomatic pressure on the Mugabe regime.

“The coming days will be critical. We will intensify international action around a UNSC discussion on Tuesday. We will press for a UN mission to investigate the violence and human rights abuses,” Mr Brown said in a statement.

“The whole international community must speak up against the climate of fear in Zimbabwe.”

The prime minister said increased scrutiny should be placed on the Zimbabwean government if a second round of voting is held.

“The international community will insist that there are international monitors deployed and SADC and AU principles upheld,” he added.

“I welcome the positions taken by the UN Secretary General, by African leaders, by Europe, by the US and by all those who want to see a return to democracy in Zimbabwe.

“We, and others, stand ready to help rebuild Zimbabwe once democracy returns. I pledge that Britain will be in the vanguard of this effort.”