Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga Tuesday called on world leaders to pressure Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe to step down.
In a speech and news conference in Washington, US, Odinga said that it made no sense for Zimbabwe to hold a runoff, because its citizens did not have confidence that the election’s first round was fair.
Odinga is leading a Kenyan delegation on a three-day official visit to the US.
International concerns have mounted over the runoff in less than two weeks between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
In the first round of voting 29 March, Mugabe came in second to Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai has alleged that only fraud kept him from winning outright.
Since then, opposition supporters have been attacked and arrested, and Tsvangirai’s attempts to campaign have been thwarted by the police.
Odinga sharply criticised Mugabe and called the runoff a “complete sham”.
“The question is: do we have conditions for free and fair elections right now?” he said. “The answer is no.”
Odinga is meeting in Washington with US officials and representatives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
He also called Zimbabwe “an eyesore and an embarrassment to the African continent.”
Kenya also faced turmoil and violence following its own contested election 27 De cember.
But Odinga says Kenya has taken steps toward democracy following his power sharing agreement with President Mwai Kibaki.
He said the political arrangement was working despite tensions between the two leaders.