Stepping up international pressure on President Robert Mugabe's government to state the results of the country's March 29 presidential election, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer on Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa, declared that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was the "clear" victor in that election.
"According to what we know, Morgan won in the first round and there should be a change," Frazer told reporters in the South African capital during her first stop in an African trip that will also take her to Zambia and Angola.
Frazer called on the United Nations Security Council to intervene to end the country’s post-election crisis which in recent weeks has seen mounting violence in rural areas where voters shifted their loyalties away from Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, especially Tsvangirai's faction.
Frazer questioned whether the conditions existed for the presidential runoff election that ZANU-PF officials have been suggesting is needed to decide the winner.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has yet to release the presidential results nearly one month after the election. Results for the house showed the combined formations of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change claiming a majority while the elected senate seats were equally divided between the MDC and ZANU-PF.
But that majority is jeopardized by recounts under way in 23 constituencies.
In other reactions to the crisis, top Anglican Church leaders warned Thursday that Zimbabwe was on the "brink of disintegration" and could fall into violence like that seen in Kenya following its elections earlier this year
European Union foreign ministers meeting next Tuesday will look for ways to push the Southern African Development Community to take stronger measures to pressure Harare to release the presidential election results.
Secretary General Tendai Biti of Tsvangirai's MDC formation met with his counterpart in South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, Gwede Manthashe, briefing him on the crisis and the escalating violence targeting rural areas in particular.
Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the MDC diplomatic offensive has driven a wedge into regional support for Mr. Mugabe - but the president remains "impervious" to international pressure.
Political analyst John Makumbe lauded Tsvangirai's diplomatic initiative but urged him to turn his focus to domestic policy and to organizing peaceful protests.