Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and the leader of the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai will
meet today (Thursday) in the capital Harare as part of peace negotiations
between the government and the opposition. This comes after both the ruling
ZANU-PF party and the main opposition MDC Thursday called unanimously for an
immediate end to violence. Zimbabweans
are reportedly expressing hope that both parties will live up to their word to
end the ongoing violence and focus on the suffering of the masses.
negotiations underway in South Africa's capital Pretoria are aimed at ending
escalating violence in Zimbabwe rural areas, as well as resolving the country's
economic and political crisis. Busani Ncube is the logistics director for the
Bulawayo project, a non-governmental organization. From Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's commercial
capital, he tells reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabweans are eager to get a
peaceful negotiated settlement.
is something very good. Every Zimbabwean wants a negotiated settlement, and if
we hear that things are going well at the ongoing meeting in South Africa, and
we hear that they are reaching a deal and that they are finalizing one or two
things, then it is something good for the people of Zimbabwe. However, let me
say that it is too early for us to celebrate because as you know, the talks are
secret, so we don't know what is really there. But until then, we are very
happy about the process if there is progress," Ncube noted.
said it was unlikely the call by both parties for an end to escalating violence
would translate into an immediate calm in rural areas.
they started calling for the end of violence before the signing of the MOU
(Memorandum of Understanding) and they repeated this during the signing of the
MOU. But up till now we are still witnessing the violence. So we are not really
sure whether the calls will really translate to the end of violence. We have
seen violence continue, especially in the rural areas, so we are not really
sure whether this is now going to translate into action on the ground," he
said although Zimbabweans are worried about the violence, it was about time
they held all the parties accountable to their calls to end violence.
have been worried about the state sponsored violence. Of course in some cases,
we have seen the opposition retaliating or defending themselves. But it is very
clear that the violence mostly coming from a state sponsored, state protected
violence so, I think the ZANU-PF or the government should be held accountable
now that they are calling for an end to violence. But I hope that translates
into action on the ground," Ncube pointed out.
said both parties see that the way forward to resolving the country's crisis is
to be cooperative at the negotiations in South Africa's capital, Pretoria.
think I will give the benefit of doubt to both parties, but I think for
ZANU-PF, they now know that they have no choice. That if they don't negotiate
and agree to some of the demands from the MDC surely, they cannot go it alone.
It is very clear and they tried to be arrogant, but now they have no choice
than to come and agree on the way forward. And as for the opposition, I think
it is very clear that if ZANU-PF and the military are not prepared to respect
the will of the people, the only way out is to compromise," he said.
Meanwhile, both the ZANU-PF
government and the MDC are reportedly under heavy international
pressure, including from within Africa, to resolve a crisis that has ruined an
economy once regarded as the breadbasket of Southern Africa.