Friday, March 18, 2011
'Sinister' forces now in charge of Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai
by Eddie Chihwape
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai returned home from a tour of regional countries to claim that Zimbabwe was now under military rule. The MDC leader told journalists at his private residence on Friday that “sinister” forces have taken control of the government.
“While I was away in the last four days, it appears the civilian authority is no longer in charge and dark and sinister forces have engaged in a hostile take-over of running the affairs of the country, with or without the blessing of some leaders of the civilian authority,” Tsvangirai said.
“Together with civic society and other democratic forces, we had planned to hold a major peace rally in Harare on Saturday to pray for peace in the country. We had duly notified the police as required by law.
“I was told on Thursday that the police have refused to allow that peaceful rally to proceed, against the provisions of the law and the letter and spirit of the Global Political Agreement. There has been an instruction from the Police Commissioner-General to effectively ban meetings when there is a Cabinet decision that no meetings should be banned.”
The decision to bar the MDC rally was upheld by Harare magistrate Mercy Chimbodza on Friday. Police say Zanu PF is also holding a rally nearby and thehy can't guarantee the security of both sets of supporters.
Tsvangirai engaged regional leaders including presidents of South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia in a bid to bring pressure on President Robert Mugabe to agree to minimum conditions before elections are held in Zimbabwe.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC)'s politics and security arm has called an emergency summit in Tanzania later this month, to discuss among other things an MDC plan for an election “roadmap”.
Tsvangirai wants SADC to act quickly, even before an election date is announced, to stop what he says are growing human rights abuses in the country led by the pro-Mugabe loyalists in the security services.
“The MDC notes that unless the region nips this tension in the bud, we could easily slide back to the dark days of 2008, a development that is not welcome to any Zimbabwean across the political divide,” Tsvangirai said.
“SADC, as the guarantors of this agreement, has to play a critical role in ensuring that we all respect the signatures that we appended to the GPA. We have to implement all the agreed issues and usher in political, economic and media reforms as stipulated in the GPA in order to enable the country to transit peacefully to a credible and legitimate government whilst SADC should monitor every step of this process.”
He said the three main political parties which formed a coalition in February 2009 agree that the tenure of their power sharing deal will have to lapse at some point and an election is inevitable, “but it has to be a free and fair election devoid of the violence that has characterised electoral processes in the country for the past three years.”
“The SADC troika summit due to take place soon has to seriously address the issue of the roadmap so that all political players are bound by time-bound milestones and rules ahead of the next election. It is my sincere and fervent hope that the SADC region will not stand back and allow this impunity to graduate into full-fledged chaos.”
Zanu PF says it wants elections later this year as soon as a new constitution is adopted, but Mugabe's opponents say there is not enough time to create conditions for a credible poll.