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Zimbabwean NGOs Urge Region, African Union to Intervene to Stop Violence

Co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone told Parliament the government regrets last week’s looting of the Gulf shopping complex in Harare during a ZANU-PF youth demonstration and preventive steps are being taken

Zimbabwean non-governmental organizations on Wednesday6 called on the Southern African Development Community and the African Union to intervene in response to the recent escalation of political violence amid expectations of 2011 elections.

Some 30 Zimbabwean civil society groups condemned the violence, saying it is creating instability. They urged the Harare national unity government to protect Zimbabweans and SADC to press the government to stop violence and intimidation.

The NGOs charged that preparations for elections by the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe pose a threat to the security of the country.

The non-governmental organizations warned that government inaction is unacceptable - in particular criticizing police for failing to enforce the rule of law.

Spokesman Ronald Mureverwi of the group Restoration of Human Rights said police in particular have a duty to complement the efforts of the unity government.

Elsewhere, the Zimbabwe Youth Forum said it has mobilized its members to respond to violence. Youth Forum Projects Coordinator Wellington Zindove told VOA Studio 7 reporter Tatenda Gumbo that party leaders must not draw youth into violence.

In Parliament, Co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told lawmakers the government regrets last week’s looting of the Gulf shopping complex in Harare during a demonstration by ZANU-PF youth, saying preventive steps were being taken.