Zimbabwe: Party Leaders to Hold Joint Rallies

The Herald (Harare)

Lloyd Gumbo

2 January 2012

LEADERS of the three political parties in the inclusive Government will next month hold joint rallies to urge their supporters to refrain from violence.

The leaders will use the rallies, to be held in all the country’s provinces, to preach co-existence and tolerance ahead of elections.

The rallies are a follow-up to the indaba on violence that was held in Harare in November last year. It drew the top leadership of the three parties and was jointly addressed by President Mugabe (Zanu-PF), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and Professor Welshman Ncube (MDC).

Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa and MDC secretary-general Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga confi-rmed the party leaders will jointly address the rallies.

“The dates haven’t been given to us by the President as you know there are three principals, but there is one main one who is President Mugabe, so we are guided by him,” Cde Mutasa said.

“The purpose of the meetings will be to inform the greater public on the need to tolerate each other. This is an idea of all the parties in the inclusive Government, so we will go to all the provinces with the same message of tolerance and co-existence.”

Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga added: “We are waiting for the principals to give us the dates and as you may be aware the President is on leave so maybe the meetings will be held in February.

“It was the principals who requested that they wanted to go to all the provinces with the same intention of urging no violence.”

MDC-T secretary general Mr Tendai Biti could not be reached for comment.

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said Mr Biti had not found time to brief them of the intended meetings.

He said they will make a decision on participation once a number of areas are clarified.

“It should be made clear in what capacity the principals will be addressing the people if they are to address together. I.e. are they addressing as presidents of parties or in their government roles?” Mr Mwonzora said.

“We also want to know in what order they will speak i.e. are they going to speak in alphabetical order, are they going to use their ages or their government positions in taking turns to speak?

“We also want to know the message and how it is going to be communicated. If there are agreements on these issues then I don’t see serious objections to this initiative.”

Mr Mwonzora said they welcome any initiative that brings peace to Zimbabwe or is calculated to end violence.

“However, the substance of the principals’ proposed campaign must address the question of selective application of the law by law enforcement agents,” he said.

“They must clearly indicate that there will not be any sacred cows when it comes to dealing with perpetrators of violence.

“We, therefore, expect the principals to give orders unequivocally to law enforcement agents especially the police to stop acting in a partisan manner.”

At the meeting with party officials in November, President Mugabe, PM Tsvangirai and Prof Ncube urged the police to decisively deal with perpetrators of political violence.

The meeting sought to address inter-party tensions rocking some parts of the country. The leaders called for the establishment of inter-party committees in lower structures to stem political violence.

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