Zimbabwean State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa has warned that the government will hit back “harder” if the faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai organizes civil disobedience as Tsvangirai pledged upon his re-election as president of the faction at its congress this weekend.
But Tsvangirai says he is determined to step up action against President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party despite Mutasa's threats.
Tsvangirai told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that activists in his camp are already getting reach for such a push.
Meanwhile, a senior ZANU-PF official said opposition leaders and supporters will only have themselves to blame if they take to the streets in defiance of official warnings.
Mugabe public affairs director William Nhara tells reporter Carole Gombakomba that although the government is confident such demonstrations will fall flat, security officials will not stand by while the opposition breaks laws prohibiting unauthorized marches.
Meanwhile, the MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara says it has not made a decision on participation in future elections, contrary to speeches by the member of parliament for Saint Mary's, Chitungwiza, Job Sikhala, at a rally in Mhondoro on the weekend.
Sikhala told supporters the party will not contest any elections until 2008, adding that Mutambara has new strategies for winning elections and unseating ZANU-PF.
But faction information and publicity secretary Paul Themba Nyathi, told reporter Jonga Kandimiiri that Sikhala was not speaking for the party faction.