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Zimbabwe crisis at critical level, warns Zuma

  • Story Highlights
  • ANC leader Jacob Zuma says other nations must help resolve Zimbabwe crisis
  • Zimbabwe still waiting for release of the March 29 election results
  • Zuma says South Africa is only country which can help resolve the situation
  • And he backs South African President Thabo Mbeki to mediate in the matter
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Zimbabwe's election crisis will "explode" if other nations fail to take action, the leader of South Africa's ruling party said Wednesday.

ANC president Jacob Zuma has called on the international community to help solve Zimbabwe's election crisis.

Jacob Zuma, president of the African National Congress, said South Africa was the one country that could help Zimbabwe, and that its President Thabo Mbeki was the man to lead the effort.

"There is a crisis in Zimbabwe. We ought to stand up and do something about it," Zuma, who will be the ANC's presidential candidate at next year's South African elections, told CNN after meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London.

"We need to do everything that we can in the process of influencing the situation in Zimbabwe for the better," he said. "How much that will take, I don't think I will be in a position to measure."

The results of Zimbabwe's March 29 elections have not yet been released, with the electoral commission expected to make an announcement this weekend.

The opposition party says Robert Mugabe's loyalists have been using violence and intimidation tactics against people who voted for challenger Morgan Tsvangirai, though officials in the President's camp deny those claims. Video See Zuma explain the need for international help. »

"Definitely there is something wrong with those elections," Zuma told CNN. He noted the voting was peaceful amid a large turnout and said problems began after voters cast their ballots.

"I think the manner in which the electoral commission has acted has discredited itself, and therefore that is tantamount to sabotaging elections," Zuma said.

Video Watch Mugabe's party claim victory in the parliament recount, according to state media »

Zuma defended the "quiet diplomacy" of Mbeki, a fellow ANC member, and said negotiating with Zimbabwean officials instead of criticizing them was the decision of the entire South African government, not just its president.

Zuma also said he was "confident" that Mbeki should be leading regional mediation efforts because he knows the issues best.

What is clear, Zuma said, is that the world should not waste any more time.

"The tensions have been building," he said. "We cannot wait and fold our arms and just look at the situation, particularly because there are reports of some acts of violence, intimidation.

"What we are left with if we don't act is the situation in Zimbabwe exploding," he said.

Zuma said he was not sure what specifically should be done, though a first step should be a meeting between Mugabe and Tsvangirai and their parties, the Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change.


Zuma, 65, became president of the ANC on December 18, 2007, after he defeated Mbeki -- who had been leader since 1999 -- in party elections.

He will run as the ANC's candidate in 2009 despite his pending trial on corruption and other charges, the South African Press Association reported. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Jacob ZumaThabo MbekiRobert MugabeZimbabweSouth Africa

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