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Zimbabwe’s Opposition Dismisses Ruling Party’s Progress Report


Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party says it is satisfied with the progress of the ongoing peace talks with main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). However, the opposition MDC has dismissed ZANU-PF’s pronouncement as not reflective of the talks, since the MDC feels frustrated with the lack of commitment by ZANU-PF. The MDC added that it would be a miracle if the objective and the time frame of the peace talks would be achieved. The peace talks sponsored by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), with South African President Thabo Mbeki as the mediator is aimed at resolving the political tension in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile the leader of the MDC Morgan Tsvangirai was quizzed by police for nearly an hour in the capital Harare and then released from custody, one day after being instructed to appear. He was later charged with disorderly conduct by the police in connection with his recent tour of stores hurt by the government's controversial price freeze.

Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is the International Affairs Secretary of the opposition MDC. From the capital, Harare he tells reporter Peter Clottey that there seem to be little progress at the peace talks.

“That is a statement from ZANU-PF. it is not a statement from the talks, so ZANU-PF itself is free to make a pronouncement. The only pronouncement that would be valid is a joint statement from ZANU-PF and MDC to say that they have covered sufficient grounds to announce that progress is going on,” Mukonoweshuro pointed out.

He said the opposition party is dissatisfied with progress of the ongoing peace talks aimed at ending the political tension in the country.

“The MDC would only be satisfied with the entire process, not bit and pieces of negotiations that are announced by a belligerent on the talks,” he said.

Mukonoweshuro reiterated the disappointment of the opposition party with the level of commitment exhibited by the ruling ZANU-PF party at the talks.

“We are very frustrated with the progress that is going on, we have March 2008 as the deadline by which negotiations should be completed, by which agreed positions should be implemented, and we are running short of time,” Mukonoweshuro noted.

He said it was unfortunate there seem to be lack of progress at the peace talks despite the pronouncement by the ruling party that it was satisfied with the level of progress of the talks.

“At the level that the talks are progressing, it would be a miracle if everything is achieved by March 2008,” he said.

Mukonoweshuro described the Zimbabwe’s police charge of “disorderly conduct” against the leader of the MDC as partisan.

“The charge preferred against Mr. Tsvangirai is an indication of the partisan nature of the police. Mr. Tsvangirai is a public figure, he is the leader of the largest opposition group in the country and the Zimbabweans are crying out about scarcity, he has got to move around to see the extend to which that deprivation has affected Zimbabweans… and for the police to then go and arrest him on the basis of disorderly conduct is really an indication of the partisan nature of the police,” Mukonoweshuro noted.

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