Accessibility links

Zimbabwe Activists Says Opposition Betrays Struggle for Democracy


The division in Zimbabwe's broad opposition movement appears to be widening as a long-serving activist for constitutional reform has accused the Movement for Democratic Change of treachery for supporting a constitutional amendment. Peta Thornycroft has this report for VOA.

The leader of the National Constitutional Assembly that campaigns for constitutional reform in Zimbabwe, Lovemore Madhuku, has accused the Movement for Democratic Change of cutting a deal in parliament with the ruling ZANU-PF over the proposed 18th amendment to the constitution that brought Zimbabwe to independence in 1980.

"The MDC's decision to abandon the principle of a people-driven constitution and opt for a process driven by political parties in Parliament is an act of treachery," the National Constitutional Assembly said in a statement released in Harare.

In an interview, Madhuku told VOA that the MDC had failed the people of Zimbabwe. He said if it is making deals with ZANU-PF, it should disband.

"Only a genuine and people driven-driven process will bring the much needed transformation of our society," he said.

The MDC split in 2005, but briefly reunited Tuesday to support the amendment to synchronize parliamentary and presidential elections next March. Both factions of the MDC voted in parliament Thursday supporting the amendment.

The amendment had been widely discussed in secret negotiations between ZANU-PF and both MDC factions during the past five months, facilitated by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Opposition support for the amendment, according to Zimbabwe political analyst Brian Raftopoulos was a confidence-building gesture that he said could lead to negotiations for a new constitution.

He and other analysts say if a new constitution emerges from this rare moment of unity between the two parties, the political risk was worth taking because of the dire situation in Zimbabwe. Food supplies are in short supply and the health and educational systems have broken down. Inflation, the highest in the world, is nearly 7,000 percent.

Meanwhile, political repression continues. Two University of Zimbabwe student leaders, Lovemore Chinoputsa and Fortune Chamba, were arrested in Harare Tuesday for leading a demonstration on campus protesting that all halls of residence had been closed and students had nowhere to live.

An MDC official, Fungai Bafana, was arrested Wednesday in Harare for having in his possession the party's newspaper, The Freedom News.

XS
SM
MD
LG