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Tsvangirai Seeks SADC Support As Political Tension Grips Zimbabwe

  • Blessing  Zulu
  • Thomas Chiripasi

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has dispatched an envoy on a regional diplomatic offensive, encouraging the Southern African Development Community to push for reforms in Zimbabwe amid heightened tensions ahead of a constitutional referendum and general election.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jameson Timba, left Harare on Wednesday to drum up regional support ahead of the referendum and polls.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, said Mr. Timba will meet all regional leaders and update them on the issue of stalled reforms, political violence and intimidation of those perceived to be Zanu-PF critics.

President Robert Mugabe ordered the police Wednesday to arrest all perpetrators of political violence following a heated cabinet meeting that resolved that co-home affairs ministers and chairpersons of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee or JOMIC should monitor the situation.

But the MDC says this is not enough. International pressure is also rising with the United Nations Special Rapporteurs in Geneva expressing shock at increasing violence in the country.

Botswana president Ian Khama also took a swipe at Harare saying elections will be violent as previous perpetrators of political violence have not been prosecuted.

McDonald Lewanika, National co-ordinator of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said the MDC might have procrastinated in appealing to the region.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tsvangirai threatened Thursday to pullout of the forthcoming elections if violence against his supporters continues.

Officiating at the burial of Christpower Maisiri, the 12 year-old son of his party’s Headlands deputy organizing secretary, the prime minister said violence against his supporters must stop.

Mr. Tsvangirai, who pulled out of the 2008 presidential runoff citing increasing violence against his supporters, said he may pull out of polls expected to be held sometime this year if violence continues.

He said President Robert Mugabe has confided in him that he wants Zanu-PF politburo member, Didymas Mutasa, to explain the circumstances surrounding the 12 year-old’s death after he was fingered by the deceased’s family and the MDC-T.

Mr. Mutasa has however denied responsibility saying that the deceased’s son was his friend and a Zanu-PF member.

But the deceased boy’s father, Shepherd Maisiri, said he is not a member of President Mugabe’s party.
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