NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 7 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga now wants the Africa Union (AU) to deploy troops to end Robert Mugabe’s presidency.
Mr Odinga said Sunday that Zimbabwe’s Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s party won the March elections and an AU troop deployment was the only way to ensure the legitimate government took power.
“Mugabe must be sent home immediately and the duly elected government of Zimbabwe must take office,” Mr Odinga said.
He was addressing an international news conference in Nairobi on the crisis in the southern African nation. Mr Odinga was mid this year declared ‘persona non grata’ by Mugabe.
"To President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, the Chair of the Africa Union: The fate and destiny of Zimbabwe is in your hands. President Kikwete must now call an urgent summit of the Heads of Africa Union states who must in turn formulate a resolution to send Africa Union troops into Zimbabwe," he said.
The Premier added that Mugabe should be investigated for crimes against humanity.
The Prime Minister said: “The crisis in Zimbabwe has now reached a point where further lack of action by the AU and the international community will constitute nothing less than a crime against humanity; And as Archbishop Tutu has said Mugabe’s case deserves no less than investigations by the International Criminal Court at The Hague.”
He also said Kenya’s Cabinet was to discuss the crisis this Thursday.
“We must not fail the dying people of Zimbabwe in this hour of their greatest need,” he continued. “We must beg them not to despair. We must urge them to marshal whatever strength they have to stand firm. We must tell them that help is at hand.”
“If no troops are available then the AU must allow the UN to send its forces into Zimbabwe with immediate effect, to take control of the country and ensure urgent humanitarian assistance to the people dying of cholera and starvation,” he told reporters.
Mr Odinga who is the most outspoken African leader on the crisis last week urged Tsvangirai to quit a coalition deal with Mugabe which hasn’t been fully implemented.
Mugabe soon after said he would call for a snap poll if Tsvangirai ditched the agreement.
Zimbabwe is currently faced with an economic and health crisis.
Last week, Mr Odinga urged African governments to oust the Zimbabwean President because a power-sharing deal in the poverty-stricken country is dead.
Mr Odinga’s comments came after he held talks with Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Nairobi, and amid a cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe that has killed more than 560 people and pushed Harare to plead for international help.
"It’s time for African governments to take decisive action to push him out of power," Odinga told the British broadcaster BBC, according to quotes published on its website.
Mr Odinga added that if Zimbabwe were isolated from its African neighbours, particularly South Africa, Mugabe would not be able to hold on to power.
"I do believe strongly that if the leadership in South Africa took a firm stand and told Mugabe to quit he will have no choice but to do so," he said.
He added that he was confident Jacob Zuma, the chief of the South African ruling party, would have "no hesitation in taking that step".
Cholera is the latest challenge to hit poverty-wracked Zimbabwe as it struggles with a political crisis and hyperinflation estimated at 231 million percent in July.