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Bush Calls Zimbabwe Election 'Sham'

  • VOA News

US President George Bush says Zimbabwe's planned presidential run-off election Friday appears to be a sham.

Speaking at the White House Wednesday, Mr. Bush said there can not be free elections when a candidate is not allowed to campaign without fear of intimidation.

The US leader joined a growing chorus of criticism of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who plans to go ahead with the vote Friday despite the withdrawal of his challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela said Wednesday there is a tragic failure of leadership in Zimbabwe.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga warned that if the world does not act now, Zimbabwe could face the kind of disaster seen in Rwanda, a reference to the 1994 genocide there.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Wednesday that his government is preparing new economic sanctions against members of Mr. Mugabe's government.



Mr. Brown also called on companies helping the Mugabe government by investing in Zimbabwe to "reconsider their positions."

The British Foreign Office announced that Queen Elizabeth has stripped Mr. Mugabe of his honorary British knighthood, as a mark of revulsion at his government's abuse of human rights.

The Foreign Office also advised British citizens against traveling to Zimbabwe. And Britain also announced it is suspending all cricket ties with the African country.

Britain is the former colonial ruler of Zimbabwe and has been a consistent critic of the Mugabe government. Mr. Mugabe has regularly accused Britain of trying to destabilize his government.

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