SADC to tell Mugabe: 'Go now'

Regional leaders will tell Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe that he is dragging southern Africa down and must retire when his term expires next year, a former minister close to Mugabe said yesterday.

Regional leaders will tell Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe that he is dragging southern Africa down and must retire when his term expires next year, a former minister close to Mugabe said yesterday.

Jonathan Moyo, left, the former information minister, said Mugabe had lost the support of the rank-and-file, and of top officers, in the police and the army.

Mugabe was due to attend a two-day extraordinary summit of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), beginning yesterday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The meeting was prompted in part by the growing crisis in Zimbabwe.

"I have been to these SADC summits and I know that behind closed doors the leaders are brutally frank," Moyo said.

"They will remind Mugabe that he told them he would retire at the end of this term, in 2008. They will tell him he must do that.

"They will tell Mugabe that his rule in Zimbabwe is dragging down the whole southern African region. They will say Zimbabwe's economic collapse is negatively affecting all neighbouring countries," said Moyo, who fell out of favour with Mugabe in 2005.

"The forces are gathering against him. His back is against the wall.

"He relies on the police and army - but the rank and file no longer support Mugabe and even the majority of top officers are no longer loyal.

"I believe we are witnessing Mugabe's last days in power." - Sapa-AFP

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