Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe’s security services — the police, the army and the Central Intelligence Organisation – “have become part of a cabal that is at the centre of a well-orchestrated partisan operation to instill fear in the people of Zimbabwe” as President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party beats the election drum.
“Those who have been in power here for decades, and have repressed and stolen from the Zimbabwean people, have committed to change and have signed up to specific reforms and principles,” Tsvangirai said in Harare on Wednesday.
“Sadly, they continue to flout those obligations, and renege on those undertakings. They continue to use their more familiar tools of violence and intimidation.”
But the MDC leader, who entered a coalition with President Robert Mugabe and a smaller MDC splinter group in 2009, insisted he was “not advocating giving up" on the unity government.
Tsvangirai spoke as dozens of opposition supporters and rights activists remained in prison after being arrested across the country on allegations of plotting to destabilise the government.
“The MDC side of government does not believe that this government is under threat from its citizens to the extent of detaining people for watching a video,” Tsvangirai said in reference to the former MDC MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, and 44 others, who are held on treason charges after police stormed a February 18 meeting where they were watching videos of north African uprisings which forced a change of government in Egypt and Tunisia.
The Prime Minister added: “We do not believe that ordinary Zimbabweans should be victimised because others in government have an inherent fear of the people.
“The arrest of Gwisai and 45 others, Hon Douglas Mwonzora and 23 others in Nyanga and many other innocent villagers and activists across the country is at the centre of impunity, violence and the selective application of the law which has conspired to poison the political atmosphere in the country.”
Tsvangirai once again appealed to the Southern African Development Community, guarantors of the power sharing pact, to lean on President Robert Mugabe to reign in his shock troops and sign up to a cross-party “roadmap” to guarantee the credibility of elections which Zanu PF says will be held this year.
But Mugabe says he has given enough concessions to the MDC without reciprocal action, demanding that Tsvangirai does more to campaign for western sanctions on the country to be lifted — a key Zanu PF demand in the coalition agreement.