HomeLocal NewsZimbabwe's PM Tsvangirai says violence on the rise

Zimbabwe's PM Tsvangirai says violence on the rise

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* Tsvangirai blames state agents, Mugabe supporters

* Says violence risks destabilising the country

* Police disrupt Tsvangirai rallies

Political violence is on the increase in Zimbabwe and supporters of President Robert Mugabe and state security agents are to blame, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Wednesday.

“It appears the demons of violence are back, a siege mood seems to be slowly gripping the country,” Tsvangirai told a monthly media briefing.

On Tuesday, anti-riot police sealed the offices of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC), firing tear gas into the building and at bystanders in central Harare.

“The state security agents have instituted a coup over the civilian authority and they are now above the law, to the extent of disrupting government programmes and assaulting civilians with impunity,” Tsvangiri said.

Incidents of political violence decreased after Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a unity government more than two years ago following a disputed election in 2008, but talk of a possible election next year has reignited tensions.

Police have in the past few weeks disrupted Tsvangirai’s rallies in the western Matabeleland region where the MDC won the majority of parliamentary seats in 2008.

On Saturday, militants from Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party disrupted an MDC rally organised by a minister jointly responsible for police affairs. ZANU-PF denies engaging in violence and instead accuses MDC supporters of provoking its supporters.

“The violence we are witnessing is state-sponsored and state-driven. It is being championed by a few fascist leaders who want to reverse the little progress we have made,” Tsvangirai said.

“The country is at a high risk of imploding if some in the leadership continue to be privately abetting lawlessness while publicly preaching non-violence.”

Tsvangirai said Mugabe had assured him during a weekly meeting on Tuesday that the issue of violence would be dealt with. He gave no further details.

In September Mugabe called for an end to violence in a speech to parliament. While the 87-year-old leader was speaking, ZANU-PF supporters attacked MDC activists outside.

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