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US, Australia condemn violence

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THE Australian and United States embassies have condemned recent incidents of violence against members of political parties saying the use of violence and intimidation to pursue political means was unacceptable and must not be tolerated.

STAFF REPORTER

Although the embassies did not mention the parties, their statements were referring to, MDC-T is the only party that has recently been enmeshed in violence which saw deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma being assaulted by party youths loyal to leader Morgan Tsvangirai for daring to call for leadership renewal.

“It remains essential that all of Zimbabwe’s political parties make every effort to ensure the prevention of violent acts. We urge all Zimbabwe’s political parties to fully respect – within their parties and the nation – the rule of law, right to free speech, freedom of assembly and other democratic freedoms which need to be at the heart of the Zimbabwean political discourse,” said the Australian embassy in a statement.

The US embassy statement was even more scathing.

“We condemn such acts of violence, which have no place in modern political discourse. We enjoin all parties to respect the rule of law, freedom of assembly and the right to free speech, which should be the hallmarks of a modern, democratic Zimbabwe. We call on all parties to protect victims of violence and to prevent future acts of violence,” the brief US embassy statement read.

MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti escaped being manhandled by jumping into Tsvangirai’s car while youth assembly leader Solomon Madzore and his secretary-general Promise Mkhwananzi retreated into the party’s Harvest House head office as angry youths were baying for their blood.

Since the assault on Mangoma, the MDC-T has been accused of purging all senior party officials suspected of being anti-Tsvangirai.

The MDC-T Matabeleland South provincial chairperson Watchy Sibanda was the first high ranking official to fall victim to the infighting when a vote of no confidence was passed against him.

And the entire party’s Matabeleland North provincial executive was disbanded on Saturday on allegations of incompetence although their ouster is suspected to be linked to the ongoing leadership renewal calls.

The Australian embassy statement came a day after Tsvangirai castigated Western diplomats and donors for allegedly meddling in his party’s affairs and fomenting the current divisions threatening to split the MDC-T.

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