Leaders to meet as violence escalates

The national executives of all parties in the ruling coalition meet tomorrow Friday to find ways of ending escalating political violence in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai
Mugabe and Tsvangirai

The decision was reached by President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara on Monday.

The Zanu (PF) Central Committee and the National Executives of the two MDCs will convene a meeting amid accusations and counter-accusations about who is causing violence in the country.

Tsvangirai is said to have complained to Mugabe that police stood watch as Zanu (PF) supporters bashed MDC members at Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza. Mugabe reportedly shot back that the MDC had clearly stated that they did not want police at their rally and that is why there were no deployments.

"My party has reservations about that meeting, but we want all of us to make a commitment that violence will not be tolerated," Tsvangirai said.

A political liaison officer with the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, Lovemore Kadenge, told The Zimbabwean: "The police are supposed to be protecting all the parties in the GPA. So instances like this bring into question the sincerity of partners in the agreement. Zanu (PF) has held several rallies and there haven’t been any disturbances at all. But you find that MDC rallies are being disrupted, so it’s really a big challenge."

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti said it was now clear Zanu (PF) had rolled out its "We are seriously concerned that without protection of the right of security of person, i.e. protection against violence, you cannot have a free and fair election in Zimbabwe,” said Biti. “And it is evident to us that Zanu (PF) is already building up to the next election on the basis of violence, which they led so heavily in June 2008."

Bityi said the police continued to take sides with Zanu (PF). Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba said: "The President told the Prime Minister that the Police Commissioner-General can only deploy where he is wanted and where an incident has happened, the Commissioner-General will move in on the strength of the law.”

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