Tsvangirai to confront Mugabe

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says he will confront President Robert Mugabe over escalating cases of violence which culminated in the tragic death of a 12-year-old boy in Headlands on Saturday last week.

Tsvangirai’s MDC called an urgent press conference yesterday to warn that business in the coalition government will never be the same again unless Zanu PF stops violence.

At the Principals meeting last week, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, came up with a Code of Conduct to end endemic violence.

The MDC says it will not allow a repeat of 2008 atrocities in which at least 200 of its supporters were murdered while thousands were displaced.

Christpower, son of Shepherd Maisiri, an aspiring MDC MP who is seeking to challenge Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, died in an arson attack at his dad’s Headlands home as political temperatures rise ahead of polls.

Tendai Biti, MDC’s secretary general, told journalists yesterday that his party will not allow the country to relapse into a “mini genocide”.

 “We cannot expose our people to the same mini-genocide similar to that experienced in 2008, if we do that we would be an irresponsible party,” he said.

Biti said “hideous” events as those experienced in 2008 are in replay because “Zanu PF is not walking the talk and events of the past days are a forbearer of things to come. If we continue on this path, we will go back to 2008.”

While Zanu PF is refuting the murder charges, Biti said the former ex-majority party’s fingerprints were written all over the death of the school boy, Christpowers.

“We hold ..... (name withheld) unequivocally and unambiguously responsible for the death,” Biti said.

“We also hold the police to account. This is a complete reproduction of all the commissions and omissions on the part of the police and CIOs that we saw in 2008.”

Biti said they will engage Sadc, the African Union (AU) and the world community at large to squeeze reforms agreed in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to be implemented before polls.

Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, said the PM is set to confer with Mugabe over the rising cases of political violence as well as the sustained clampdown on civil society by the police force.

Apart from banning shortwave radio receivers, the police have also vowed to ban non-governmental organisations which they accuse of operating outside the law.

 “The Prime Minister is taking this issue seriously. It is sad that this murder comes after the two (Mugabe and Tsvangirai) talked about violence and they agreed to create an environment ahead of polls that would be violence free,” said Tamborinyoka.

Mugabe, who has been preaching peace at every forum, now stands accused of not walking the talk as violence spreads ahead of a referendum set for March 16.

“The violence that is on the rise gives the impression that there are people who are preaching peace and then not practicing it, so at the next meeting the PM is going to push the president to walk the talk,” said Tamborinyoka.

The Prime Minister will also seek to engage regional leaders who have the role of monitoring the implementation of the Code of Conduct for security agents who have threatened mutiny if the former trade unionist wins presidential elections, he said. 

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