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Zimbabwe's Ruling Partners Trade Barbs Ahead of Crucial SADC Summit

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

ZANU-PF is accusing the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of staging a bombing in a bid to influence Southern African Development Community leaders

With a potentially critical Southern African Development Community summit on Zimbabwe a few days off, the two main parties in Zimbabwe's unity government are trading accusations over the gasoline-bombing of Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s home on the weekend.

ZANU-PF is accusing the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, of which Biti is secretary general, of staging the incident in a bid to influence Southern African Development Community leaders, and to neutralize charges that MDC members killed a senior police officer in a Harare suburb on May 29.

Sources said ZANU-PF will also argue that the attack on Biti’s residence may have been the result of clashes within the MDC branch. The improvised incendiary device did little damage.

ZANU-PF Parliamentary Whip Joram Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo the bombing incident at Biti’s residence was an inside job by the former opposition party.

"They killed a police officer and now they are trying to divert SADC's attention. ZANU-PF did not thrown that bomb which could not even kill a chicken in the yard," Gumbo said.

Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora insisted the bombing was carried out by supporters of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

Meanwhile, both parties are dispatching senior officials to Pretoria to lobby the South African government and regional diplomats ahead of Saturday's summit.

ZANU-PF sent former information minister Jonathan Moyo while the MDC is sending Nelson Chamisa, party organization secretary and Information and Technology minister.

The Zimbabwe discussions are to be held on the sidelines of the Comesa, SADC and East African Community tripartite summit convened in Johannesburg.

ZANU-PF aims to overturn the resolutions of an April SADC troika meeting in Livingstone, Zambia, which called for political reform in Harare, establishment of a road map to the next elections in Zimbabwe, and an end to political violence.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Coordinator Dewa Mavhinga and Goodson Nguni of the ZANU-PF-aligned Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations spoke with VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu about the forthcoming summit. Nguni maintained that the MDC formation of Prime Minister Tsvangirai is to blame for political violence.

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