x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Tsvangirai leaves Dutch embassy

Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwean opposition leader, has left the Dutch embassy in Harare, where he sought refuge.

Mr Tsvangirai had taken shelter at the mission citing increasing pre-poll violence against his supporters ahead of a run-off presidential election.
Mr Tsvangirai had taken shelter at the mission citing increasing pre-poll violence against his supporters ahead of a run-off presidential election.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwean opposition leader, has left the Dutch embassy in Harare, where he sought refuge more than a week ago, the Dutch foreign ministry said today. "He left yesterday morning. He wants to do his regular work from home," Bart Rijs, a spokesman for the ministry said. Mr Tsvangirai had taken shelter at the mission citing increasing pre-poll violence against his supporters ahead of a run-off presidential election.

Robert Mugabe won Friday's poll after Mr Tsvangirai - the only challenger - withdrew from the race. "The embassy will stay in close contact with Mr Tsvangirai, also concerning his security," Mr Rijs said. The Dutch foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, had agreed to grant Mr Tsvangirai refuge because the opposition leader felt that his life was in danger. "If that becomes the case again, he will be welcome (at the embassy) again," said Mr Rijs. "It is up to Mr Tsvangirai to decide his steps, if he feels he is endangered, he is welcome."

Mr Rijs noted that the Zimbabwean election campaign had been "marked by violence and intimidation" against the country's opposition. Mr Mugabe, 84, has since been sworn in for a sixth presidential term. *AFP