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Will Africa take action against Zimbabwe's Mugabe?

The African Union is expected to discuss the issue in Egypt Monday, one day after Mugabe declared a 'sweeping victory' in Friday's presidential runoff, which was widely condemned as a sham.

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University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure says Mugabe's win spells doom for the country.

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"Obviously, this means more problems for the country because he will not be accepted as the leader of Zimbabwe, neither locally nor internationally," says Mr. Masunungure. "There should be talks to break the impasse between Mugabe and [Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change]."

Reconciliation coming?

Patrick Chinamasa, head of the ZANU-PF media committee on elections, said his party is geared to reconcile with the MDC, but will only seek political accommodation that does not undermine the gains of the liberation struggle.

"Our president has made it clear that ZANU-PF is open to negotiations on the future of the country and the possible cooperation between us and those in opposition," Mr. Chinamasa said. "ZANU-PF is fully conscious of its historic duty to unite the people of Zimbabwe around common goals. We are committed to taking measures that reconcile our population, put behind the divisions of the past."

But MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the MDC will not engage with a rogue president who was not elected by the people of Zimbabwe. He said the "presidential question" remains unsolved and that Mugabe has imposed himself as the leader of the country.

"We need to hold presidential elections in a free and fair environment," Mr. Chamisa says. "You cannot have a pope without the endorsement of the Catholics. Mugabe has just gone berserk."

Electoral observers from the Pan-African Parliament announced on Saturday that the "elections were not free and fair." Members of the Southern African Development Community also expressed dismay about the manner in which the elections were conducted – and they sent a rather stinging signal to their appointed mediator on the Zimbabwe issue, South African President Thabo Mbeki, by not inviting him to a conference this week in Swaziland to discuss the Zimbabwe issue – but they stopped short of the harsh criticism used by Britain and the US, in favor for a call for more dialogue.

"There's quite a substantial shift in Africa on the subject [of Zimbabwe]," says Steven Friedman, a senior analyst at the Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa in Tshwane, formerly known as Pretoria. "I would expect pressure to build up, and isolation to build up."

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