JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is returning home on Saturday despite an alleged assassination plot against him, he told a crowd of supporters Thursday.
Morgan Tsvangirai has been away from Zimbabwe trying to seek support from international leaders.
"I am going home ... to try to solve this problem," Tsvangirai told the cheering crowd at a refugee relief center in Alexandra township, referring to the post-election situation in Zimbabwe.
"You can join me back home to solve the political crisis."
A representative of Tsvangirai's party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), could not immediately confirm Tsvangirai's plans.
Tsvangirai, who has been away from Zimbabwe for weeks, canceled a planned return last Saturday after being tipped off about a planned assassination, his spokesman said.
The MDC said the government of President Robert Mugabe was behind the plot. A cabinet member denied the government had any role and said the report was an effort by the MDC to gain international sympathy.
Tsvangirai's spokesman George Sibotshiwe said Thursday that the threat had not necessarily declined, The Associated Press reported, but "at a certain point you have to take the risk."
Tsvangirai won more votes than Mugabe in the March 29 presidential election, but not enough to avoid a runoff, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The runoff is scheduled for June 27.
The MDC contends Tsvangirai won the election with 50.3 percent of the vote, giving him the necessary majority.
The party argued that the Electoral Commission, which delayed publicly releasing the results for weeks, fudged the numbers to protect Mugabe, who leads the Zanu-PF party.
The MDC spokesperson said two party members were found dead Wednesday night after being abducted from their homes in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare.
There have been numerous reports from the MDC and church groups since the March balloting about kidnappings, torture, and other violence, including the deaths of opposition party members. They say the violence targets opponents of Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party.
Mugabe has ruled the southern African country since it became independent 28 years ago.
A Tsvangirai supporter in the crowd Thursday said he planned to return to Zimbabwe to vote in the runoff.
"If we don't vote, he won't win," the man told AP Television. "So we are going there."
AP also reported Tsvangirai also talked to several hundred Zimbabweans and other foreigners who were being sheltered in tents outside a police station in Johannesburg following the recent violence in South Africa.
"Zimbabwe is not a safe place now," Stephen Ncube told AP. "If Morgan Tsvangirai wins, we are going back. But if he loses, we can't go."
Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed||Top Searches|