Zimbabwe’s neighbours fell in behind the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe yesterday and demanded that the West lift all sanctions on his country.
With opposition growing at home and a crumbling economy, pressure was mounting on the heads of surrounding states to urge their friend and comrade to reconsider his position. But in a communiqué issued at the end of what was billed as a make-or-break summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), 14 leaders reaffirmed their solidarity with the veteran President of Zimbabwe.
Their words will come as a crushing blow to campaigners who believed the tide to be turning against his increasingly autocratic 27-year rule.
Mr Mugabe smiled as he pushed past rorters in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, and declared himself satisfied. “Excellent meeting,” he cried, clapping his hands gleefully, before climbing into a waiting limousine. ...