South African President Thabo Mbeki has met with Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe to try to help end Zimbabwe's political crisis.
Mr. Mbeki also met Saturday with leaders of a breakaway faction of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change Saturday, however the main
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, declined to participate in the
A spokesman for the opposition said the party is waiting for the
African Union to join the mediation efforts. The MDC has criticized Mr.
Mbeki's mediation bid as being biased in favor of President Mugabe.
Mr. Mbeki told reporters after Saturday's meeting that he wanted the negotiations to move quickly.
A Zimbabwean government official criticized Tsvangirai for skipping the meeting, saying it showed a lack of respect.
Tsvangirai withdrew from Zimbabwe's June presidential run-off election
because of what he called systematic violence against his supporters.
In other developments, a British newspaper says secret footage taken at
a Zimbabwean prison shows how a supporter of President Robert Mugabe
rigged the country's June 27th run-off election.
The film obtained by the "Guardian" newspaper apparently shows ruling
ZANU-PF party officials forcing officers at Harare central jail to cast
their ballots for Mr. Mugabe. It also shows a prominent leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Tendai Biti, in leg irons.
Separately, "The Washington Post" newspaper reports Saturday that Mr.
Mugabe initially planned to give up power after losing the first round
of the election.
The Post, citing sources at a key meeting, says military officials
convinced Mr. Mugabe to remain in power by using the army to rig a
Zimbabwe's government has not commented on either report.