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European Union Urges Zimbabwean Authorities to Renounce Violence

When the parties to Zimbabwe's ongoing power-sharing talks signed a memorandum of understanding on July 21 setting a framework for the negotiations, the ruling party and both formations of the opposition undertook to “take all measures necessary to ensure that the structures and institutions it controls are not engaged in the perpetration of violence.”

But 10 days after the signature of that pact, it was not clear that all parties have adhered to the agreement as members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change continue to be attacked by suspected ruling party militia and war veterans, particularly in Manicaland and Mashonaland Central provinces, still “no-go” zones for members of the opposition.

Bringing home this point, the European Union on Thursday urged Zimbabwean authorities to honor commitments to renounce violence and ensure access by humanitarian aid providers.

The E.U. said the signature of the memorandum by President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara was “an important step towards a genuine political solution to the current crisis.”

But sources in Gokwe, Midlands province, said war veterans and ruling party militia disrupted the swearing in Wednesday of opposition councilors in Gokwe Urban constituency.

Sources in Manicaland province said village headmen in Chimanimani district are not allowing those who fled political violence in April-June to return to their homes. The headmen are said to be demanding letters stating where such people resided during their absence.

VOA was unable to obtain comment from ZANU-PF spokesman and lead power-sharing negotiator Patrick Chinamasa, justice minister in the last government.

Acting Spokesman Tapiwa Mashakada of the Movement for Democratic Change told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the MDC condemns violence and hopes ZANU-PF will instruct its supporters to halt all violent activities.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...