In Zimbabwe, the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has expressed confidence about planned talks between the opposition and President Robert Mugabe’s government. South African President Thabo Mbeki has been mandated by the Southern African Development Commission (SADC) to mediate between the government and the opposition to resolve deepening political crisis in Zimbabwe. The MDC has however, vowed to press home its demand for political and constitutional reforms ahead of the peace talks.
Eliphas Nukonomweshuro is the MDC general secretary for international affairs. From the capital, Harare he told VOA that the party expects President Mbeki’s planned talks to be different from previous attempts.
“The president (Morgan Tsvangirai) was speaking to the press today, and he indicated to the pressmen around that in his opinion, the Mbeki initiative this time has got a SADC mandate behind it. It is different from last time when they were efforts from South Africa, but they were efforts of a concerned neighbor,” he said.
Nukonomweshuro said countries in the sub-region come to the conclusion that the Zimbabwean crisis needs to be dealt with.
“The region has now realized that there is a crisis that wants to be met with resolution, and to provide a regional resolution to that. And he hopes that this time because of the existence of this fresh mandate perhaps we may be able to chart a path forward,” Nukonomweshuro noted.
He said there is too much tension in the country.
“As you know, the situation in this country at the present moment is very tense. There are a lot of brutalities visited upon MDC leadership and activists it is impossible to hold meaningful consultations with our structures throughout the country about the talks, and therefore there is the need for Mr. Mugabe at least to reign in the waves of violence that has engulfed this country over the past one and a half months,” he pointed out.
Nukonomweshuro said Zimbabweans are tired of the political situation in the country.
“The people of this country have reached the limits of their endurance. And even if they are not consciously organized by the MDC, they would obviously take to protests against their living circumstances. So, that is not an issue which can be regarded as a precondition. It will go on whether or not the talks proceed,” he said.
He decried what he described as the suffering of Zimbabweans.
“Everybody knows that Zimbabwe is a country which has reached a cul-de- sac. Zimbabwe is a country where everything is in short supply except misery, which comes in abundance. We clearly can see a red light flashing; no country can go on as we are at the present moment. So whether Mr. Mugabe is recalcitrant or not, the time will come when he cannot hold back demands and pressures for change,” he said.
Nukonomweshuro explained the MDC’s message to the international community.
“What I want to tell the international community is that the MDC, from its formation, has always had one refrain that it is necessary for Zimbabweans on both sides of the political divide to sit down on the negotiating table to create the framework for an agreed political dispensation, so that we all can forget about these dark and horrible days and develop the country,” he said.