Zimbabwe PM jeered by UK exiles
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been forced to cut
short an event where he was addressing Zimbabwean exiles due to
Mr Tsvangirai was addressing more than 1,000 exiles, whom he
urged to return home to rebuild the country, during an event at London's
But his appeal was poorly received as questions were
raised over assurances he made about the country's stability.
Tsvangirai's UK visit is the final stage of a tour of Europe and the
He has been seeking funding for the unity government he formed with
President Robert Mugabe in February.
Mr Tsvangirai, the leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change who became prime minister in the
power-sharing deal, said the country needed the exiles' skills and money to help
to rebuild Zimbabwe.
During his speech, the prime minister said:
"Zimbabweans must come home."
He told the audience that improvements had
been made through the creation of a "transitional" government, and that no-one
had been "fooled" or co-opted.
Referring to the power-sharing deal, he
went on: "It represented the best solution to a crisis that has engulfed us as a
The Zimbabwean prime minister said inflation had been cut,
schools had reopened and previous scarce commodities were now available, adding
that the government had "made sure that there is peace and stability in the
That assertion provoked a noisy reaction from sections of the
Mr Tsvangirai is expected to hold talks with Gordon
He went on: "Our mission is to create the necessary space, the
necessary freedoms for Zimbabweans. Our mission is to make sure that we give the
people of Zimbabwe hope.
"Zimbabwe is changing for the better, and that
change is for you and me to ensure that we can build a Zimbabwe
He acknowledged that no-one should forget the struggles and
suffering of the Zimbabwean people, adding that he, as a victim of beatings and
arrests, would be the last to forget the past.
However, Mr Tsvangirai
told the gathering that the plan to work towards a new constitution and
referendum over the next 18 months was the correct one.
Union still holds sanctions against Zimbabwe, and EU leaders have told the
Zimbabwean prime minister they want to see improvements in the human-rights
situation in the country before they consider lifting them.
Office in London has sounded a similar note, with minister Lord Malloch Brown
saying sanctions would not be lifted until Zimbabwe's transition to democracy
has "reached a point of no return".
Mr Tsvangirai is expected to hold
talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday.