Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, pausing in the course of a diplomatic initiative across the Southern African region, urged the Southern African Development Community to step up its action in Zimbabwe to halt mounting political violence or risk seeing the country slide back into the chaos witnessed during the 2008 elections.
Having spent recent days criss-crossing the region to must support for a more energetic regional role in resolving Zimbabwe's crisis, Mr. Tsvangirai told journalists in Harare that SADC must follow through on its commitment as a guarantor of the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing that underpins Harare's national unity government.
Flanked by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe and other officers of his Movement for Democratic Change formation, the prime minister said the machinery of violence has been unleashed on the Zimbabwean countryside and that a crackdown on his party and civil society has intensified. He said civil authorities no longer seem in charge, this a reference to the widespread deployment of military forces in rural areas.
"It appears the civilian authority is no longer in charge and dark and sinister forces have engaged in a hostile takeover of running the affairs of the country, with or without the blessing of some leaders of the civilian authority," Tsvangirai said.
To this point, Mr. Tsvangirai cited the police ban issued on the rally his MDC formation has called for Saturday, noting that in this instance the police are clearly acting against a Cabinet decision stating that such political meetings should not be prohibited.
Asked about reported plans to arrest him for contempt of court in connection with recent comments criticizing the Supreme Court for a ruling unseating Speaker Lovemore Moyo, Mr. Tsvangirai said that his arrest would put an end to the unity government.
Mr. Tsvangirai was to complete his regional diplomatic offensive in a meeting over the weekend with South African President Jacob Zuma, SADC's mediator in Harare.
The prime minister said he is optimistic that SADC will not stand back and let Zimbabwe slide back into disarray. SADC's so-called troika on politics, defense and security is to meet at the end of this month to discuss Zimbabwe among other regional issues.
Reached by VOA, ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the prime minister should engage internal dialogue before embarking on regional initiatives.
Political analyst Tinomudaishe Chinyoka said Mr. Tsvangirai must not bank on SADC reining in ZANU-PF or its leader, President Robert Mugabe.