'Send troops to Zimbabwe'

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga addresses the media during a news conference in Nairobi December 7, 2008.  REUTERS/Antony Njuguna (KENYA)
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga addresses the media during a news conference in Nairobi December 7, 2008. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna (KENYA)

NAIROBI - Foreign troops should prepare to intervene in Zimbabwe to end a worsening humanitarian crisis, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should be investigated for crimes against humanity, the Kenyan prime minister said yesterday.

NAIROBI - Foreign troops should prepare to intervene in Zimbabwe to end a worsening humanitarian crisis, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should be investigated for crimes against humanity, the Kenyan prime minister said yesterday.

Raila Odinga, in the latest sign of growing international frustration over Zimbabwe's slide into chaos, urged the African Union to call an emergency meeting to authorise sending troops into Zimbabwe.

"If no troops are available the AU must allow the United Nations to send its forces into Zimbabwe with immediate effect, to take over control of the country and ensure urgent humanitarian assistance to the people dying of cholera," he said.

According to official statistics more than 500 Zimbabweans have died of the disease since an outbreak in August, though officials fear the toll is much higher.

Health officials have also warned that deaths could spiral into thousands due to the collapse of Zimbabwe's health system, the scarcity of food and the oncoming rainy season, which might help spread infections.

Odinga said Mugabe had reduced a once-prosperous country to a "basket case".

"Mugabe's case deserves no less than investigation by the international criminal court at The Hague."

Odinga slammed his fellow African leaders for being slow in criticising Zimbabwe, saying they had shamed the continent by treating Mugabe with "kid gloves". - Sapa-AFP

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