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Zimbabwe PM Tsvangirai Launches Regional Offensive As Crackdown Continues

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

The Prime Minister is expected in the next few days to meet regional leaders to push for a SADC troika meeting to try and stop the on-going crackdown in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday stepped up regional diplomacy, meeting Zambian President Rupiah Banda in Lusaka, as he seeks support from Southern African Development Community leaders in the wake of a crackdown on his party members and civic society leaders.

Mr. Tsvangirai was also expected to meet Mozambican President Armando Guebuzza late Tuesday. Banda is current chairman of the SADC Organ on Defense and Politics. South African President Jacob Zuma and Guebuza are the other members of the troika.

Tsvangirai is also expected in the next few days to meet other regional leaders to push for a troika meeting to try and stop the on-going crackdown. The last meeting on Zimbabwe was postponed indefinitely in November.

Sources in Harare say Mr. Tsvangirai met President Robert Mugabe in Harare on Monday and raised concerns with the latest crackdown on his party supporters, the Supreme Court nullification of the election of Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of Parliament and the arrest of Energy Minister Elton Mangoma, among others.

But, sources say, the meeting ended in a deadlock with Mr. Mugabe saying he could not intervene in legal issues. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office Jameson Timba told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that Mr Tsvangirai was updating regional leaders on the current situation in the country.

Meanwhile, the London-based Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit says the MDC formation of Prime Minister Tsvangirai should restrategize for it to regain public trust and continue its fight for democracy.

Recent polls have shown Tsvangirai's MDC party losing support but remaining the dominant of all in the country.

Addressing a conference organized by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in London at the weekend, Unit Assistant Director Leo Zeilig said Zimbabwe now faces a crisis following the MDC's failure in 2008 to take over the reigns of power after a massive electoral victory.

Zeilig said the MDC should change its political strategy through the process of regeneration. He said that the answer to Zimbabwe’s woes now lies in the emergence of another political movement.

But political analyst and long-time critic of Mr. Mugabe, John Makumbe told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the Tsvangirai MDC is the only hope for Zimbabweans at the moment.