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Zimbabwe Opposition Rejects Mugabe’s Accusation

Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has described President Robert Mugabe’s accusation that the opposition party is behind the ongoing violence as utter nonsense. Mugabe reportedly told security forces to be steadfast and stop opposition partisans from intimidating voters ahead of the June 27 election run-off. He added that the opposition is in league with former colonial power Britain to force a regime change. But the opposition claims it is the government that is setting things up to increase violence against opposition supporters to ensure a ruling party victory and perpetuate Mugabe’s 28-year rule. From Harare, MDC international affairs secretary Eliphas Mukonoweshuro tells reporter Peter Clottey that President Mugabe’s accusation is despicable.

“It is tragic that such an accusation could come from the leader of ZANU-PF because what we are saying is that the evidence of widespread violence throughout the country is there for all to see. And what we are calling for is impartial policing – policing which ensures that all the culprits and perpetrators of violence, regardless of political affiliation are brought to book. And surely that is not too much to ask from the responsible authority of a state,” Mukonoweshuro noted.

He described as unfortunate the charge that the opposition is bringing division among ordinary Zimbabweans.

“Our reaction is quite simple. We are really flabbergasted by that kind of speech from a person who is leading a caretaker government, and at the present moment ahead of head of the run-off. Words of caution and words, which enjoin Zimbabweans to ponder their political activities peacefully must emanate from him. Rather than taking a partisan position, which inflames tensions within the country, it is unfortunate people are dying. And the statistics are quite clear, and we would have expected the caretaker government or the caretaker president ahead of the run-off to play a very constructive role to ensure that tensions within the country are dampened. But everyday, we are burying people, and the last thing we need is inflammatory statements from the caretaker president of the country,” he said.

Mukonoweshuro denied the opposition dismisses the contribution of some of the leaders who contributed to the country’s Independence from Britain in 1980.

“The MDC has never been on record denigrating the heroes of Zimbabwe. That is patently false. What we are saying is that partisanship must not be evident, must not be articulated by a caretaker president of a country. We are saying words that should emanate from the Zimbabwe statehouse are words that should enable Zimbabweans to be tolerant, and to conduct their political activities in the contest of tolerance because there is a tomorrow in Zimbabwe after the election. We do not need a long healing process that distracts our attention from the very important task of day-to-day management of an otherwise battered country,” Mukonoweshuro pointed out.

He also denied assertions that the MDC was formed at the behest of Britain to cause division among ordinary Zimbabweans and force a regime change.

“This is patently false. The history of the formation of the MDC is a matter of public record. The MDC is a political formation that was formed by students, the labor union and intellectuals. That history is quite clear. What Mr. Mugabe does not want is opposition to his rule, however legitimate,” he said.