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Monday, June 16, 2008

International Pressure on Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe, campaigning for re-election in a presidential runoff June 27, warned he would not cede power to Western-backed opponents, the state media reported Monday.

"We shed a lot of blood for this country. We are not going to give up our country for a mere X on a ballot. How can a ball point pen fight with a gun?" the Herald, a government mouthpiece, quoted Mugabe as saying.

Speaking in the local Shona language in the central Silobela district Sunday, Mugabe said, that the nation threw off colonial domination in a guerrilla war in 1980, and his party was ready to fight again to stop the pro-Western Movement for Democratic Change from gaining control of the government, the paper reported.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, speaking in London with U.S. President George W. Bush, warned Monday that international election monitors must be allowed to monitor the runoff or risk having Mugabe's "criminal regime" steal the election.

"(Mugabe's) criminal cabal ... threatens to make a mockery of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe," Brown said.

Bush said the U.S. would work with Britain and others to make sure the runoff poll is conducted to international standards.

"The people of Zimbabwe have suffered under the Mugabe leadership and we will work with you to ensure this process leads to free and fair elections, which obviously Mr. Mugabe does not want to happen," Bush said.

Read it all here.

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