WASHINGTON DC— The two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations have received with cautious optimism statements by State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi that security forces will not tolerate violence in the forthcoming general elections.
Sekeramayi told state-controlled media that security forces will be on high alert in the run-up to the 2013 polls to prevent clashes between political parties and attempts to intimidate voters.
The army and the police have been accused of openly supporting Zanu PF and harassing MDC supporters in previous elections.
“The public is assured that the army, police and intelligence services will be extremely vigilant and coordinating their activities before and during the elections to detect any trouble makers,” Sekeramayi told the Herald.
But spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the Welshman Ncube MDC said he was skeptical of the minister's statement but will give him the benefit of the doubt.
"If Sekeramayi has indeed made such a commitment, we welcome it," said Dube. "What we need in Zimbabwe is a professional security force that does not involve itself in partisan politics."
Dube's sentiments were echoed by Abednico Bhebhe, deputy organizing secretary of the MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai. But Bhebhe had more reservations.
"Many people have been beaten up by the military for supporting the MDC or being against Zanu PF, and nothing has been done to the perpetrators. What will change now?” asked Bhebhe.