Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it had secured a promise from the government on Wednesday to investigate charges of escalating violence against their supporters.
After a meeting with Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, senior MDC figures said they had been assured they were not regarded as ”enemies” and their allegations would be taken seriously.
”In his own words, he said, ‘We are not enemies, we are just competitors’,” MDC secretary for home affairs Sam Sipepa Nkomo told reporters.
”He assured us that once the investigations are over he will call us to make a full explanation. We are happy that the minister himself now has evidence of political violence after we furnished him with the evidence.”
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa, who was also part of the delegation, said: ”There seems to be commitment on the part of the minister, judging from his body language, to deal with violence.
”We hope he won’t indicate left and turn right.”
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and dozens of party supporters were assaulted by the security services in March as they tried to stage an anti-government rally, prompting widespread international condemnation of veteran President Robert Mugabe’s regime.
The opposition claims that the violence has not only continued but has also increased against rank-and-file members in recent weeks, a charge disputed by the authorities.
The MDC demanded the minister make a public statement denouncing violence and punish perpetrators, regardless of their political affiliation.
Having once posed the stiffest challenge to Mugabe’s 27-year-old grip on power, the MDC has been riven by divisions and some followers of a rival faction claim to have been assaulted by Tsvangirai loyalists. — AFP