South Africa's Tutu Says
Mugabe Has Gone 'Bonkers'


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu said on Saturday Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe had gone "bonkers in a big way" for disregarding the rule of law and assuming greater powers.
In an interview with the Saturday Star, Tutu joined mounting international criticism over Mugabe's leadership and said the sensible thing for the Zimbabwean leader would be to step down.
"Mugabe seems to have gone bonkers in a big way. It is very dangerous when you subvert the rule of law in your country, when you don't even respect the judgements of your judges...then you are on the slippery slope of perdition," Tutu said.
"It is a great sadness what has happened to President Mugabe. He was one of Africa's best leaders, a bright spark, a debonair, well-spoken and well-read person," the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Winner told the newspaper.
Zimbabwe's parliament, where Mugabe's ZANU-PF has a comfortable majority, passed two controversial laws on Thursday -- one that criminalized criticism of Mugabe and gave sweeping security powers to the government and another banning independent election monitors for the March 9-10 presidential polls and denying voting rights to millions of Zimbabweans abroad.
Faced with growing international isolation and the threat of sanctions, Zimbabwe said on Friday it would accept international observers for the elections, but strictly on its own terms.
The European Union is under mounting pressure to impose economic sanctions on Zimbabwe and suspend development aid. There are also calls for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the 54-nation Commonwealth.
South Africa broke a two-day silence on developments in its northern neighbor on Friday, saying it was "unacceptable" for the Zimbabwean army to signal it would only accept a victory by Mugabe, 77, in the election.
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki said in a separate comment that "wrong things are happening in our neighborhood."
Tutu said Mbeki's government needed to take a stronger stance and its policy of quiet diplomacy had failed.
Tutu told BBC radio by telephone on Saturday the threat of international sanctions might be needed.
"If he (Mugabe) can't be made to see sense...there may be a carrot that you could dangle in front of him to say that if he does certain things then obviously sanctions will not be applied," Tutu said.
Mugabe, in power since 1980 when the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain, faces a serious election challenge from Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Malawi's vice president, Justin Malewezi, said on Saturday the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe would not resolve the country's deepening crisis and called instead for dialogue.
Malawi is the current chair of the 14-member Southern African Development Community. The Zimbabwe issue will be on the agenda of a summit of SADC leaders on Monday in Blantyre, Malawi's commercial capital.

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