South Africa Calls for Results in Zimbabwe

Mbeki shifts position as world criticism of Mugabe mounts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2008 6:36 PM CDT
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe greets children at a children's party in Harare, Thursday, April, 17, 2008.    (AP Photo/str)
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(Newser) – South Africa shifted course today and for the first time called on Zimbabwe to release election results, Reuters reports. A spokesman for the government of Thabo Mbeki—an ally of Robert Mugabe who had previously downplayed the crisis—called the situation "dire." President Bush, meanwhile, criticized African leaders for allowing the situation to fester.

"More leaders in the region need to speak out, and the United Nations and the AU must play an active role," Bush said. Earlier, Mugabe rival Morgan Tsvangirai said Mbeki must step down as lead mediator and accused Mugabe of unleashing an "orgy of violence" against his opponents. Mugabe is scheduled to deliver his first major speech since the elections tomorrow.