MDC to ask Parliament to probe political violence

HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party will this week table a motion in Parliament requesting the House to investigate political violence in the run-up to a presidential election last June and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice, a top party official said.

The MDC, which says about 200 of its supporters were killed in political violence allegedly committed by activists of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party and state security agents, initially indicated last month that it would table the motion before deciding against it last week fearing such a move could poison relations within the new unity government.

Tabling the motion is certain to heighten tensions in the fragile government while unsettling many in the military establishment who are accused of having masterminded violence against the MDC.

But MDC legislator for Nyanga North constituency Douglas Mwonzora, who will table the motion in Parliament, said the move was necessary because of fresh political violence in Manicaland province under which his constituency falls and farm invasions that have rocked parts of the country.

“I will be tabling the motion sometime this week,” Mwonzora said. “We have noted that there is a resurgence of violence especially in Manicaland province. My supporters are under attack from ZANU PF people. So what we are saying is that violence is still rearing its ugly head despite the inclusive government.”

ZANU PF chief whip Jorum Gumbo was not immediately available for comment on the matter that is certain to bring to the fore the sensitive and divisive issue of how to achieve national healing while ensuring those who violated human rights are brought to justice following formation of the unity government.

While Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, who heads a smaller formation of the MDC, managed to reach agreement on how to share power they have not yet resolved the issue of what to do with those mostly in the security forces and war veterans accused of committing human rights abuses and other crimes.

A committee of senior ministers drawn up from ZANU PF and the two MDC formations to promote national healing and reconciliation has not said how exactly it intends to go about the process.

Military commanders and hardliners in ZANU PF who are believed to have been behind violence in the run-up to the June vote are known to be opposed to the unity government in part because they fear the new administration could dilute their power and ultimately lead to their arraignment before the courts on charges of abusing human rights. 

Speculation is rife within political circles in Harare that the military generals and ZANU PF hardliners were behind the new incidents of political violence and the farm invasions in a bid to derail the unity government. – ZimOnline.