Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, visiting Nigeria Wednesday, urged that country and the African Union to help ensure that Zimababwe does not become what he described as “another Ivory Coast,” referring to the West African nation’s brush with civil war over the disputed outcome of its 2010 presidential election.
Mr. Tsvangirai met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja and later told reporters that he had asked Mr. Jonathan to play a more active role in making sure Zimbabwe can hold free and fair elections in 2012 to end its long-running crisis.
Mr. Jonathan told reporters that Nigeria would back all efforts by Zimbabwe and the Southern African Development Community to prepare for a peaceful ballot. All African countries have a responsibility to ensure Harare does not return to violence, he said.
Sources in Mr. Tsvangirai’s formation of the Movement for Democratic Change said that in view of the revolutions witnessed in the Arab world and the famine in the Horn of Africa, he wants to keep the Zimbabwe situation in the international eye.
Mr. Tsvangirai is expected to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in September.
International relations expert David Monyae told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that Mr. Tsvangirai’s’ visit to Nigeria signals some impatience with SADC’s mediation.
Political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube commented that the chaos such as that seen in Ivory Coast could loom in Zimbabwe should elections be held there without reforms.