- JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -
Veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu said on Saturday
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe had gone "bonkers in a big way"
for disregarding the rule of law and assuming greater powers.
- In an interview with the Saturday Star, Tutu joined mounting
international criticism over Mugabe's leadership and said the sensible
thing for the Zimbabwean leader would be to step down.
- "Mugabe seems to have gone bonkers in a big way.
It is very dangerous when you subvert the rule of law in your country,
when you don't even respect the judgements of your judges...then you are
on the slippery slope of perdition," Tutu said.
- "It is a great sadness what has happened to President
Mugabe. He was one of Africa's best leaders, a bright spark, a debonair,
well-spoken and well-read person," the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
told the newspaper.
- Zimbabwe's parliament, where Mugabe's ZANU-PF has a comfortable
majority, passed two controversial laws on Thursday -- one that criminalized
criticism of Mugabe and gave sweeping security powers to the government
and another banning independent election monitors for the March 9-10 presidential
polls and denying voting rights to millions of Zimbabweans abroad.
- Faced with growing international isolation and the threat
of sanctions, Zimbabwe said on Friday it would accept international observers
for the elections, but strictly on its own terms.
- The European Union is under mounting pressure to impose
economic sanctions on Zimbabwe and suspend development aid. There are also
calls for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the 54-nation Commonwealth.
- South Africa broke a two-day silence on developments
in its northern neighbor on Friday, saying it was "unacceptable"
for the Zimbabwean army to signal it would only accept a victory by Mugabe,
77, in the election.
- South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki said in a separate
comment that "wrong things are happening in our neighborhood."
- Tutu said Mbeki's government needed to take a stronger
stance and its policy of quiet diplomacy had failed.
- Tutu told BBC radio by telephone on Saturday the threat
of international sanctions might be needed.
- "If he (Mugabe) can't be made to see sense...there
may be a carrot that you could dangle in front of him to say that if he
does certain things then obviously sanctions will not be applied,"
- Mugabe, in power since 1980 when the former Rhodesia
gained independence from Britain, faces a serious election challenge from
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic
- Malawi's vice president, Justin Malewezi, said on Saturday
the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe would not resolve the country's
deepening crisis and called instead for dialogue.
- Malawi is the current chair of the 14-member Southern
African Development Community. The Zimbabwe issue will be on the agenda
of a summit of SADC leaders on Monday in Blantyre, Malawi's commercial