Kenya's PM urges African troops into Zimbabwe

01:43, Jan 31 2009

The African Union (AU) should deploy troops in Zimbabwe to resolve a crisis that has become an "embarrassment" to the continent, Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga was quoted as saying.

"What is happening in Zimbabwe is a shame and an embarrassment to Africa in the eyes of the international community and should be denounced," Odinga said in Swahili during a visit to his home province Nyanza in west Kenya.

"So we are saying we want the African Union to send troops to Zimbabwe. The time has come for the African continent to stand firm in unity to end dictatorship," added Odinga in the speech on Saturday.

Odinga – a former opposition leader whose power-sharing agreement with President Mwai Kibaki after Kenya's disputed election is touted by some as a possible model for Zimbabwe – has been one of the most vocal critics of Mugabe in Africa.

Mugabe was expected to be declared the winner of Zimbabwe's widely condemned election on Sunday.

Critics are calling for action to end Mugabe's 28-year rule after he went ahead with Friday's presidential run-off despite opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal because of killings of his supporters.

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"President Mugabe went ahead with the fake elections in which he competed against himself. That was a fake election and we do not recognise it," Odinga said.

"You cannot say you have won an election in which you arrest your opponents, where you beat and kill your opponents, where people cannot campaign because you have locked them in jail."

Odinga also responded to media reports that Mugabe had said the Kenyan premier was persona non grata in Zimbabwe.

"Mugabe says that Raila is his enemy No 1. I do not need to go to Zimbabwe. . . I don't intend to do so under Mugabe's leadership," he said in the comments carried by Kenyan newspapers and broadcasters.

Reuters