Mugabe Legitimizing Attacks on Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s Power-Share MDC Says
By Brian Latham
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF is using the state-controlled
Herald newspaper to “legitimize an attack on Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai,” according to the premier’s Movement for Democratic Change
Zanu-PF, whose full name is the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front, is attempting to “eliminate” Tsvangirai or “remove him as a threat to
their party,” MDC Organizing Secretary Nelson Chamisa said in a phone
interview from Harare. The two parties are in government together under a
power-sharing agreement brokered in 2009.
Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa was quoted in today’s Herald as
“warning” Tsvangirai to “leave Zimbabwe’s generals alone.” His comments
came after Tsvangirai said June 21 that military and police leaders should
quit their posts and enter politics as civilians.
“What these statements from Zanu loyalists” show “is that an element within
Zanu-PF is trying to legitimize an attack on the prime minister, whether to
eliminate him or remove him as a threat,” the MDC’s Chamisa said in the
Calls to Zanu-PF’s headquarters and the defense ministry went unanswered.
Chamisa made his remarks two days after Brigadier-General Douglas
Nyikayaramba said in the Herald that the army would do all it could to keep
Mugabe, 87, in power. The president will only leave office if he “sees fit,
or dies”, according to the report, the military’s most direct signal yet
that it would refuse to accept any other leader.
Today’s paper quotes the Zanu-PF defence minister as saying the army has a
constitutional mandate to protect Zimbabweans from both external and
Mugabe’s party “is incorrect to refer to internal threats,” Chamisa said
today. “The MDC is not a threat, it is the government and the biggest party
in government,” he said.
The MDC has been criticizing Mugabe for using the military, police and
intelligence services to brutalize and intimidate its supporters since 2000.
Its claims have been backed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and
civil-liberties groups in Harare.
Mugabe is pushing for fresh elections this year in an attempt to end the
power-sharing accord, which was brokered by the Southern African Development
Community and left Zanu-PF in control of the security services while giving
most of the economic ministries to the MDC.
The MDC has said that Zimbabwe shouldn’t hold elections until the security
services have been reformed and a new constitution is in place.
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