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Zimbabwe’s Opposition Demands End to Political Violence

Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says for the first time President Robert Mugabe’s government has acknowledged that politically-related violence is on the ascendancy. The government took note of the situation at a meeting Wednesday between Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and MDC officials who had chronicled alleged cases of politically driven violence by state security agencies and supporters of President Mugabe.

As a result, the government has resolved to investigate incidents against the MDC and punish the perpetrators. The MDC says although the government’s move is a step in the right direction, it should do more to stop the ever-increasing violence against its partisans in the shortest possible time.

Nelson Chamisa is the spokesman for the opposition MDC. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Harare that they want the government be committed to resolving the problem.

“What I can tell you is that the situation on the ground indicates that indeed, violence continues to be one of the vices of transgression of our politics. But also what is important is that there is an acknowledgment on the part of the government that indeed there is violence on the ground. And what we did is to simply state the obvious because they also have that information. What is worrying is that it might not even be an issue of them wanting to investigate these things, but it’s just the question of them trying to do some public relations. And obviously locating exit points to culpability,” Chamisa noted.

He said the opposition party demanded the government’s commitment towards ending the escalating violence.

“The issue is not about the violence that is taking place. The issue is about the violence that is continuing. And what we demanded from the government is the complete cessation of hostilities, a complete stop to all politically motivated violence. And of course all the other cases that have to do with political intimidation, political persecution, especially the use of food as a political weapon in the rural areas… and indeed intimidation of people who are perceived to be aligned to the opposition,” he said.

Chamisa reiterated the opposition’s demand for a Mugabe government commitment towards ending the alleged violence against MDC partisans.

“We indicated to him (Minister Kembo Mohadi) that, what we want to see is total commitment and sincerity on the part of the regime. So we want to see the situation on the ground. So it’s not just a statement from the government, but basically, what we want to see is to see a change in attitude, behavior, and also approach in terms of what is coming from the government, and also the security forces,” Chamisa pointed out.