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<font color=red>MDC Under Pressure to Take Action</font> - 2003-04-07

The call for mass action comes as a fact finding mission by the Southern African Community task force is due to arrive in the country. The task force is expected to talk with President Robert Mugabe about allegations of human rights abuses by his government.

MDC youths have been restless and they say they are ready to give President Mugabe what they call “the final push.” is the National Youth Chairman and an MDC member of parliament for the Harare suburb of Kuwadzana. He says the party has not abandoned mass action.

One student, , says students are behind the MDC's mass stay away.

Harare resident Michael Kundai says he supports the mass action but the MDC must be prepared for blood shed. He warns the "ZANU-PF and particularly mugabe will not give up power on a silver platter.”

MDC secretary General Welshman Ncube says the mass action could take any form a stayaway, mass demonstration, march or boycott of ZANU-PF businesses.

Police have already declared such actions as unlawful. They have arrested over 500 MDC supporters after a two-day stayaway last month.

The opposition party will meet on Saturday to determine the form and content of the protest. The meeting comes against a backdrop of complaints by ordinary Zimbabweans that they are being beaten and harassed by the police and the army because they are suspected of supporting the MDC.

The economic meltdown has resulted in severe shortages of basic commodities, fuel and electricity. Critics blame the economic decline on the chaotic land reform exercise. President Mugabe blames former colonial ruler Britain for the country's problems.