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Kenya refuses to recognize Zimbabwean government
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15:17, July 07, 2008

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Kenya has joined African countries that have refused to recognize Robert Mugabe as the president of Zimbabwe, Wetangula said in remarks published in the local media on Monday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula said Kenya would not recognize Mugabe's government as legitimate.

Mugabe has been defiant despite growing international condemnation of a June 27 runoff presidential election, in which he was the only candidate after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out, citing state-sponsored violence.

Wetangula said the presidential election re-run in Zimbabwe was not free and fair.

He urged Mugabe to demonstrate political maturity and look for "real solutions" to the crisis facing his country.

The minister said Kenyans experienced problems after last year's disputed elections and had acquired crisis resolution experiences that Mugabe could borrow from.

Wetangula said Mugabe should opt for a coalition government to solve the political impasse. "If he accepts a power-sharing formula, Kenya is ready to offer advice and also mediate," he said.

Botswana became the first African country to publicly declare that it would not recognize Mugabe as the president of Zimbabwe. Presidents of Liberia and Rwanda followed suit.

Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, beat Mugabe in the March presidential election, but not by enough votes to avoid a run-off.

Mugabe won the second round vote late last month after Tsvangirai pulled out citing state-sponsored violence against his supporters.

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for 28 years, has been defiant in the face of growing condemnation from Western governments and some African neighbors.

President Thabo Mbeki of regional powerhouse South Africa has been criticized at home and abroad for his quiet diplomacy approach to the crisis.

Mbeki, acting as regional mediator, met Mugabe on Saturday to try to help end the turmoil. Tsvangirai, who has accused Mbeki of siding with Mugabe, declined to meet with him.


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