Zimbabwean parliamentarians of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, which secured a two-thirds majority in March general elections that the opposition has contested, Tuesday defeated an opposition motion to end the government’s controversial slum-clearance and resettlement drive.
Opposition spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi issued a sharply worded statement accusing members of the ruling majority of voting against their consciences and prolonging the suffering of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans.
“They know the truth but are afraid to speak out,” Mr. Themba-Nyathi said. “As a result of their selfish vote the suffering of the people will continue.”
Mr. Themba-Nyathi’s comments echoed those made by former ZANU-PF central committee member Pearson Mbalekwa, who resigned from the party July 2. He maintains that most ZANU-PF politicians oppose the demolition and resettlement program, but remain silent due to a culture of fear and intimidation in their party.
Reporter Patience Rusere of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe caught up with Mr. Mbalekwa, asking him first if reports he had gone into hiding were true.