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Kenyan minister, PM disagree over Mugabe

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula has now dismissed a proposal by Prime Minister Raila Odinga for foreign troops to intervene in Zimbabwe to end a deteriorating political and humanitarian crisis.

Mr Wetangula told a news conference on Monday that the suggestion which is also backed by western nations was ‘unworkable’ since it went contrary the African Union (AU) Charter.

“The constitute Act of the AU does not allow a country to be invaded unless there is a rebellion which is not the case in Zimbabwe. Secondly, the AU has no troops to send anywhere. It can only request countries to contribute and I don’t believe that is the way to go,” he said.

On Sunday, Mr Odinga addressed an international news conference at which he called for an immediate deployment of AU troops to end Robert Mugabe’s presidency.  He said this was the only way to ensure ‘the legitimate government’ took power.

"To President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, the chair of the Africa Union; The fate and destiny of Zimbabwe is in your hands," Mr Odinga said on Sunday.

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 compelled Harare to plead for international help.

Cholera is the latest challenge to hit the poverty-wracked Zimbabwe as it struggles with a political crisis and hyperinflation that was estimated at 231 million percent in July.

 Britain has also been calling for the imposition of sanctions, an idea which Mr Wetangula also dismissed.

“If you impose sanctions in Zimbabwe today, President Mugabe will not miss a meal. It is the ordinary man who will be suffering. The AU must decide a better way of dealing with the crisis,” he insisted adding that the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference (SADCC) had been mandated to be the official interface of the crisis by the AU.

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Mr Wetangula said the African Union would strive to convince all parties in the conflict to agree in the upcoming summit in January.  .

President Mugabe and Prime Minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai signed a power sharing deal in September but the two have failed to form a functional government since then, after disagreeing on the distribution of key ministries.


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