Mugabe says unity government to bring stability, warns perpetrators of violence

HARARE, (Reuters) – Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said on Saturday the unity government he formed with the Movement for Democratic Change would bring stability to the crisis-hit country and warned against resurgent political violence.

Mugabe was addressing mourners at the burial of a former commander of Zimbabwe’s military forces in Harare, and was joined by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in another sign of thawing relations between the two long-time foes.

Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party have previously boycotted such occasions saying Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party had hijacked national events for partisan purposes.

The conciliatory gesture came after Mugabe last week joined mourning for Tsvangirai’s wife, who was killed in a car crash.

"We now have an inclusive government and I want to thank the honourable prime minister and his deputy prime minister who are here. That is as it should be," Mugabe said.

"We were fighting among ourselves, brother versus brother … but we’ve realised our folly. Let us walk the same road. We formed this inclusive government to bring stability, peace and harmony."

Mugabe also spoke out against political violence, which the MDC has previously blamed on Mugabe’s ZANU-PF.

"Violence must stop. We have heard reports of renewed violence, that must stop. Yes, we belong to different parties, but let’s not fight. Those who persist with acts of violence are the enemies of Zimbabwe," Mugabe said.

The veteran ruler, who never misses an opportunity to attack his Western critics, said his government’s dispute with former colonial power Britain had not ended, but called for "friendship and partnership".

"Our fight with the British is not yet over. Not a week passes without the British parliament discussing Zimbabwe. They forget that we will never be a colony again," he said.

"What we want is partnership, we don’t want to be subjugated, we don’t want masters. Those who want to be our friends and partners are welcome."