Soldiers must stop harassing villagers – Tsvangirai
HARARE – Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai says Zanu PF should withdraw armed soldiers who have been deployed in rural areas countrywide to harass villagers ahead of the anticipated elections next year.\r\n
Addressing an International Human Rights Day gathering in Harare Friday, Tsvangirai denounced the soldiers and security agents’ presumed brutality, and said their actions were unacceptable.
”We all know that soldiers, members of the police and CIO are being deployed in the rural areas to harass our parents. The army is not there to beat up and abuse people. It is there to protect them.
When we tell them to stop it, we are not fighting them but we are asking them to protect people and not to harass them. These are national security institutions which must not be abused. This must stop. When we go to elections it is not a declaration of war. Our people want peace. This is what we agreed to in the GPA.” said Tsvangirai.
Among the speakers at the commemoration was the Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara who shared the same sentiments with Tsvangirai and demanded a free environment for the elections to be held.
”The mandate of this inclusive government is to have free and fair elections. We must have political reforms because we do not want a repeat of the June 2008 elections. Lets have a peaceful environment that is condusive to holding free and faier elections.
Where is Zanu PF and President Mugabe? Where is the MDC leadership? We should be celebrating this day together if we want a peaceful country,” said Mutambara.
Scores of people marched in the city today holding placards celebrating the day and demanding justice and the upholding of human rights.
The country has witnessed a decade of political violence as supporters of the MDC have been brutalised or killed by Zanu PF members who have unleashed violence each time the country held elections since 2000. In the last elections in 2008, Tsvangirai had to pull out of the presidential run off at against Robert Mugabe at the last minute citing brutal violence by Zanu PF supporters against the MDC.
At least 200 MDC supporters were killed during those bloody elections. In Masvingo province, there have been reports of rampant intimidation and harassment of villagers by soldiers and war veterans led by Jabulani Sibanda in recent weeks.
In Mashonaland Central, villagers in Dotito and Rushinga districts have been warned that Zanu PF will cut off the heads of people who will vote for the MDC in next year’s elections.
There is clearly a systematic pattern whre Zanu PF is using armed soldiers to intimidate and harass people nationwide ahead of the elections. – Daily News