Odinga urges Mugabe to relinquish power

"In Zimbabwe, Mr. Mugabe is not part of the solution to the political problem; he himself, is the problem," Odinga told a joint press conference with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner.

"The faster the international community acts to convince him to relinquish power, the better it will be for the Zimbabwean people who have already suffered a lot.

"Moreover it’s high time these political compromises were stopped that, in our countries, allow losers to remain in power," Odinga said, undoubtedly hinting at the political situation in his own country, where he had claimed victory in the presidential election of December 2007 before accepting a compromise to share power with President Mwai Kibaki.

In Zimbabwe, a similar agreement was implemented in setting up a broad coalition government, with the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, as Prime Minister and Robert Mugabe keeping his seat as President, whereas each of them claimed victory in the March 2008 election, which sparked fears of a civil unrest in the country.

However, the political crisis cropped up again last Wednesday, after the vice minister of agriculture, Roy Benett, a close collaborator of the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, was arrested.

Mugabe Tuesday in Harare chaired the weekly session of the council of ministers, in Tsvangirai’s absence and that of ministers from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the opposition party that shares power with the ruling party as part of the agreement on power sharing.