Fears for life after 'plot to kill him'

HARARE - Fears of an assassination plot prevented Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai from taking part in the start of his election campaign yesterday.

HARARE - Fears of an assassination plot prevented Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai from taking part in the start of his election campaign yesterday.

Tsvangirai was to stay in South Africa because of fears for his life, his party said.

The former trade union leader, who faces veteran President Robert Mugabe in a June 27 second-round poll, has been out of the country for more than a month after winning elections in March.

His party said they had discovered, from a credible source, a plot to kill him.

"There are no plans for him to leave today," said a party spokesman yesterday from Johannesburg, where Tsvangirai remains after arriving back on Saturday from Northern Ireland.

"It is about making sure things on the ground are ready for his return from a security perspective."

Since Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe, pro-government militias have been accused of harassing and killing opposition supporters.

Tsvangirai also faces the threat of a treason charge after being accused of plotting with Britain to overthrow the government.

Mugabe acknowledged on Friday that his loss in the first round of voting had been "disastrous" but began campaigning on Saturday for his re-election.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for an international peacekeeping force in Zimbabwe to prevent any violence. - Sapa-AFP

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