Zimbabwe’s MDC says fresh violence ‘killed’ unity talks


Sat, Nov 08, 2008 - Page 6

Zimbabwe’s opposition accused Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s party on Thursday of unleashing a new wave of brutality countrywide that had “killed” negotiations on forming a unity government.

Days ahead of a regional summit aimed at breaking an impasse in unity talks, an opposition spokesman denounced what he called “a new orgy of brutality.”

“ZANU-PF has unleashed a new orgy of brutality and assaults across the whole country,” Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Nelson Chamisa said in a statement.

“ZANU-PF has killed the dialogue despite the hopes, patience and expectations of the people of Zimbabwe,” Chamisa said.

The statement was released as southern African leaders prepared to meet tomorrow in South Africa in a bid to save a deal signed by Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Sept. 15.


At least 25 MDC supporters were attacked in a Harare township on Oct. 27 by a ruling party militia, the statement said.

Three days later, security agents raided the home of a local MDC leader in the town of Banket, arresting nine people, including a two-year-old girl, it said.

The MDC also said that more than 100 activists remained in prison after they were arrested for holding a march during regional talks in Harare on Oct. 28.

Chamisa told reporters that Tsvangirai would still attend the summit, but said the attacks showed Mugabe’s lack of sincerity.

“ZANU-PF has to be honest and publicly say we no longer want these talks,” he said.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed in the Sept. 15 deal to form a unity government aimed at ending months of political turmoil and allowing the country to address a deep economic crisis.

But the deal has been stalled over disputes about how to divide control of the most powerful Cabinet posts, particularly the home affairs ministry, which oversees the police.


On Thursday, the South African government said Zimbabwe’s political impasse was becoming a major hindrance to regional stability and urged the weekend summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to break the deadlock.

“We believe South Africa and the region cannot be held to ransom by parties who are failing to reach agreement on the allocation of cabinet posts,” government spokesman Themba Maseko told reporters in Pretoria.

“This is becoming a matter of extreme concern for us and we will be taking quite a hard stance to make sure that agreement is reached,” he said.

“The failure of the parties to agree is something that is becoming a major political hindrance to the stability that we desire” in southern Africa, Maseko said.