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Zimbabwe's Opposition Leader Vows To Defy Mugabe's Threat

Zimbabwe's main opposition leader says he’ll defy President Robert Mugabe's threat to crush mass protests by aggressively pursuing his anti-government campaign. Morgan Tsvangirai is the president of the Movement for Democratic Change, the MDC. He told supporters at a weekend rally he’ll take his fight into the ruling party's rural strongholds. Mr. Tsvangirai has called for peaceful mass action to drive President Mugabe from power. But his call has provoked threats from the Zimbabwean leader, who said his opponents were playing with fire.

Nelson Chamisa is the spokesman for the MDC. He told English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje his party has adopted a “paradigm shift” in its campaign to unseat President Mugabe. Chamisa says the shift in approach came after Mr. Tsvangirai “held a series of meetings across the country, and rallies, which were well-attended.” He says the MDC leader “is trying to respond to the hemorrhage of the economy, social impoverishment and suffering of the people. That’s why the party is now coming out strong.”

Chamisa says, “Any struggle is a process and not an event. We have learned from our mistakes and hope to build on our strengths. He says, “From here on, the leadership of our party will be leading from the front, the Martin Luther King kind of leadership, the Mandela type of leadership, leaders who are going to be at the forefront.” Regarding the party’s recent leadership crisis, Chamisa says, “Everything is now falling into place, with a consensus on the way forward. The MDC is now bigger, better and sharper, with a renewed leadership and a renewed institution.”