President Robert Mugabe’s fractured inner circle called an emergency meeting for today to debate whether the president should step down or stand for a second round of voting against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who appeared to receive more votes in last weekend’s election, ruling party sources said.
Several ruling party sources, including one of Mugabe’s closest confidants, said Thursday that three options were under discussion: a negotiated, immediate departure for Mugabe; a second round of voting by April 19 as required by law; or a 90-day state of emergency in hopes of improving conditions before an eventual runoff. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity.
Amid anxiety about the election results, police in the capital of Harare raided opposition party hotel rooms and a lodge where several foreigners were staying. Among those detained was New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Afghanistan in 2002.
U.S. sailor accused in stabbing death
Japanese police arrested a U.S. sailor Thursday in the stabbing death of a taxi driver near an American naval base outside Tokyo, fueling anger here over crimes allegedly involving U.S. troops.
Olatunbosun Ugbogu, a 22-year-old Nigerian national, was arrested on murder and robbery charges, a local police spokesman said. The spokesman said he had confessed.
Japanese officials reacted sharply to the arrest. Public anger over the American military presence is mounting after a series of allegations against U.S. servicemen in Japan, where some 50,000 American troops are based.
Ugbogu, a crew member on the USS Cowpens, is accused of stabbing 61-year-old taxi driver Masaaki Takahashi on March 19 in Yokosuka, just south of Tokyo and the site of a large U.S. naval base. Police also accuse him of failing to pay the $190 taxi fare.
The police spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of departmental rules, said the driver was stabbed in the shoulder with a kitchen knife and bled to death.