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Wednesday, 25 June 2008

'Mugabe is a Frankenstein'

Sydney - Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu has labelled Zimbabwe's embattled President Robert Mugabe a "Frankenstein" figure and called for international action to prevent the country descending into bloodshed.

The Archbishop Emeritus told Australian television Zimbabwe's best hope was an international peacekeeping force primarily comprised of Africans with non-African nations providing logistical support.

Swift action was needed to prevent another Rwanda, he said, in a reference to the 1994 genocide that the UN says led to the deaths of approximately 800 000 people, mainly ethnic Tutsis but also moderate Hutus.

Another Rwanda

"Rwanda happened despite all the warnings that the international community was given, they kept holding back and today we are regretting that we did not, in fact, act expeditiously," Tutu said, speaking from Cape Town late Tuesday.

"I hope in this case we are not going to wait until several more people have been killed."

Tutu said Mugabe had gone from being a liberation leader who helped his people throw off the shackles of colonialism to a figure who was thumbing his nose at the international community and holding his country to ransom.

"He has mutated into something that is quite unbelievable, he has really turned into a kind of Frankenstein for his people," Tutu said.

International criticism of Mugabe has intensified since opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from an election scheduled for Friday, citing rising violence against his supporters which he said had led to 86 deaths.

Mugabe has vowed to press on with the election, accusing Tsvangirai of withdrawing because he is afraid of losing.

The UN Security Council has condemned the violence, while Britain, France and the United States all branded Mugabe's regime "illegitimate".

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