Tsvangirai intends to leave Dutch refuge amid growing tension
The MDC leader cannot leave Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai intends to leave the refuge of the Dutch embassy in Harare over the next 48 hours.
Tsvangiria’s spokeperson this morning said it is a temporary refuge. "So probably he will leave today or tomorrow," he said.
Tsvangirai took refuge in the embassy on Sunday, shortly after announcing that he was dropping out of Friday’s presidential run-off vote with Robert Mugabe because of growing pre-poll violence.
"He asked to come and stay because he was concerned about his safety," the Dutch spokesperson said.
The request was approved in The Hague by Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen but there has been no request for political asylum.
News of Tsvangirai’s presence at the Dutch Embassy came shortly after Zimbabwe police raided the headquarters of his party, the Movement for Democratic Change, and took away about 60 people.
Tsvangirai went to the embassy shortly after announcing he was withdrawing from the presidential run-off, set for Friday.
It was not clear how long Tsvangirai intended to remain in the embassy building.
By last night it was not clear as to why he chose the Dutch Embassy and whether he is with his family.
But the Netherlands is a strong supporter of international human rights groups.
Tsvangirai can not leave the country as the Robert Mugabe government last week refused issue whim with a new passport.
His current passport has not expired, but its pages are full. Zimbabwean officials refused, saying he lacked proper police clearance.