Continued attacks on opposition members in Zimbabwe’s rural areas by youth
militia of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, liberation war veterans
and members of the armed forces are complicating efforts by SADC and other
concerned parties to induce Harare to set a firm date for the presidential
run-off vote it has called.
But once the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has set a date for the run-off
there will be increased pressure for SADC and possibly the African Union to
dispatch election observers to the rural areas allegedly being terrorized by
Tsvangirai on Tuesday was meeting with Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha
Mosisili in Maseru in an effort to pressure SADC leaders to ratchet up
pressure on Harare to halt what his party and most other observers say is a
state-organized campaign of political violence aimed at the opposition and
rural voters who backed it on March 29.
MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe on Tuesday that he is concerned that the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission has yet to set a date for the presidential run-off
Nigeria on Monday called for AU observers to be deployed for the run-off to
“show solidarity.and help avoid a breakdown of law and order.” Nigerian
Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe told reporters he took up the question with
South African President Thabo Mbeki and Zimbabwean Foreign Minister
Mr. Mbeki has been SADC’s mediator in Zimbabwe since March 2007, but SADC
itself has stepped up diplomacy through its so-called Zimbabwe troika
comprising Tanzania, Angola and Swaziland coordinated by SADC Executive
Secretary Tomaz Salamao.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change formation of presidential
candidate – and first-round frontrunner – Morgan Tsvangirai has repudiated
Mr. Mbeki as mediator, accusing him of providing political cover for Mr.
Even if run-off election date is set, the allegedly state-sanctioned
violence would make it problematic and possibly extremely dangerous for
Tsvangirai to campaign in rural areas beset by youth militia and war
veterans brandishing AK-47 assault rifles.
The government itself has been arresting MDC officials including opposition
politicians elected to parliament in the March 29 elections that ushered in
the present crisis, and opposition officials say Tsvangirai could be subject
to arrest upon his return to Zimbabwe from South Africa, where he has been
based in recent weeks.Post published in: News