October 20, 2008

Tsvangirai Denied Passport, Misses Talks

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he missed power-sharing talks in Swaziland because he was denied a passport by President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change, was scheduled to arrive in Swaziland Monday to discuss the stalemate in power-sharing talks between the MDC and Mugabe's ZANU-PF party. He was set to meet with a regional bloc of nations known as the Southern African Development Community, but failed to arrive because of passport problems, The New York Times reported.

Mugabe has failed to issue a passport to Tsvangirai despite repeated requests since July, including a plea from former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating the talks, the newspaper said.

The situation brought a rebuke from SADC member Botswana, which blamed ZANU-PF for the deadlock. In a release, the country's foreign ministry said Mugabe's party was "seeking to dominate power" and called on other African nations and the United Nations to demand new elections in Zimbabwe if the power-sharing stalemate continues, the Times said.