PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday dispatched one of his top aides to lobby Southern African Development Community (Sadc) leaders to intervene in Zimbabwe amid escalating tension in the inclusive government over rising political violence.
Report by Moses Matenga
Cabinet on Tuesday reportedly spent more than four hours deliberating on reports of suspected political violence at the weekend that led to the death of a 12-year-old Headlands boy.
MDC-T Manicaland organising secretary Shepherd Maisiri accused his Zanu PF opponents of petrol-bombing a grass-thatched hut where his son, Christpowers, was sleeping with his three siblings on Saturday night.
Christpowers was burnt beyond recognition, sparking a bitter war of words between Zanu PF and the MDC-T.
Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka (Zanu PF) was also hospitalised at the weekend after she was attacked by youths from her party during a meeting.
The MDC-T wants Sadc to intervene on the basis that the political situation in the country is deteriorating.
Tsvangirai sent MDC-T secretary for international relations Jameson Timba to Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi to apprise the regional leaders of the fragile situation ahead of polls expected in July.
Tanzania chairs the Sadc Troika on Politics, Defence and Security while the regional body is also the guarantor of the Global Political Agreement (GPA). South African President Jacob Zuma is the mediator in the Sadc-led talks to find a permanent solution to Zimbabwe’s political problems.
“Timba is expected to update Sadc heads of state on political developments in Zimbabwe and urge Sadc to convene an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe so that the parties and Sadc can agree on the conditions under which the next elections will be held,” said Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka.
The MDC-T said it had compiled a dossier on the political violence detailing 120 cases of attacks against its members recorded since the beginning of the year. Tendai Biti, the party’s secretary-general, said the information would be used to lobby Sadc to convene an emergency summit on Zimbabwe.
There are also concerns that the police crackdown on non-governmental organisations is an indication that security forces would seek to influence the outcome of the polls.
Timba, who is also Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, said the political developments showed that Zanu PF was panicking and measures needed to be put in place to avoid bloodshed ahead of the elections.
The minister also accused Zanu PF of “looting” and being “paranoid”.
Theresa Makone, the co-minister of Home Affairs, said there was a danger that there would be a “bloodbath” during the forthcoming elections if Sadc and the African Union did not intervene on time.
“Obviously it’s not funny because two years ago I said the next elections will be a bloodbath and this is coming to that,” she told NewsDay.
“Unless Sadc and the AU intervene, the elections will be worse than 2008.
“The violence that we are witnessing in Headlands is well-orchestrated to cause fear. I am not convinced that talk about peace is genuine.”
President Robert Mugabe has reportedly demanded a non-partisan investigation from the police to establish the cause of the Headlands fire.