Washington, D.C., June 20, 2008 - Representative Donald Payne, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee, in an exclusive interview with the Voice of America (VOA), called for continued international pressure on Zimbabwe to control political violence and intimidation before the June 27 presidential election.
"I think that it certainly is important that the free world expresses its concern about the situation in Zimbabwe. I think that even though Mr. Mugabe has tended not to listen, I do believe that it is useful for our voices to be heard," said Congressman Payne. "And at the end of the day, perhaps he may listen to some of the pleas for a fair and free election."
He also hoped that other African leaders, in particular, would speak out, noting the remarks made this week by Kenya's new prime minister, Raila Odinga, who called for an international peacekeeping force.
"Perhaps other African leaders might speak out as the election comes to the date. And that may have influence on the behavior of the security forces and the government of Zimbabwe," the congressman told VOA.
Earlier this week Congressman Payne sponsored a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives condemning Zimbabwe's election-related violence and calling for a fair and peaceful resolution to the political crisis.
VOA's coverage of Africa includes broadcasts in thirteen languages via radio, television and new media including 19 hours each week to Zimbabwe in English, Shona and Ndebele. Further coverage of events in Africa can be found online at www.voaafrica.com.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,250 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
For more information, please call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.