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Zimbabwe political parties to deal with violence

By The Africa Report
Posted on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 17:07

Feuding political parties in Zimbabwe’s coalition government are set for an unprecedented crisis meeting on Friday as political temperatures soar in the southern African nation.

A recent upsurge in politically motivated violence has seen both Zanu PF, led by President Mugabe and the MDC-T led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai trading accusations on who was to blame.

The Friday meeting is meant to thrash out the cause of the violence, but little is expected as Zanu PF and the MDC-T have been at each other’s throats since the formation of the coalition government almost three years ago.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe agreed to the Friday meeting when they met for routine consultations on Monday.

On Sunday Tsvangirai failed to hold a planned rally in Chitungwiza, a satellite town, 30 kilometres outside the capital, Harare, after violence flared leaving scores injured and property worth thousands of dollars damaged.

The premier’s party claim police details “stood by and watched” as dozens of its supporters were attacked after Zanu PF activists stormed a football ground, the venue of the rally.

We have now agreed that on Friday we are going to convene a meeting of Central Committee and national executive councils of the three parties

Tsvangirai claims the violence was orchestrated by Youth Empowerment and Indigenisation Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, but Mugabe says the police could not rein in on the violence because the MDC-T had barred them from attending the meeting.

“He (Kasukuwere) took the Zanu PF youths to Chitungwiza a night before, pretending to be engaging in genuine and legitimate activities,” he said.

Despite Mugabe’s reluctance to blame the police for failing to bring the violence under control, he and Tsvangirai agreed to call for a meeting of the Zanu PF central committee and the national executive committees of the two MDC factions on Friday, where leaders of the three parties will speak out against violence.

“We have now agreed that on Friday we are going to convene a meeting of Central Committee and national executive councils of the three parties to discuss the issue of political violence,” Tsvangirai told reporters on Monday.

“It has been proved that Zanu PF was responsible and the president could not refute that.”

Tsvangirai claims that current violence is state sponsored and driven and “championed by a few fascist leaders who want to reverse the little progress we have made”.

Incidents of political violence decreased after Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a unity government following disputed elections in 2008, during which more than 200 people died, but talk of a poll next year has reignited tension.

In recent weeks, police have blocked Tsvangirai from holding rallies despite being cleared by the courts.

However, Zanu PF rallies do not require any clearance by the police or the courts.

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