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Zimbabwe Opposition Appeals To Regional Leaders On Mugabe Term

The Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai is embarking on a diplomatic offensive to lobby regional leaders to pressure Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to reject his party's proposal to extend his term by two years.

A majority of ZANU-PF provincial organizations supported putting the 2008 election off to 2010 when the next general election is due. But critics say the real intention of the election "harmonization" is to extend Mr. Mugabe’s term beyond 2008.

Some leaders of Southern African Development Community nations have expressed concern in private at the Zimbabwean ruling party's initiative. The Zimbabwean crisis has spilled over into several SADC countries, especially through immigrant flows.

Tsvangirai MDC faction officials say that in light of the violence often associated with Zimbabwean elections - which they blame on ruling party militants - the region could be embarrassed if the next major round of Zimbabwean elections is held just as the World Cup of Soccer is held across the border in South Africa in 2010.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC faction told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his party expects regional pressure to mount.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...