Minister says Mdc leaders should have been arrested

BULAWAYO – Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu says government should have arrested MDC leaders including the opposition party's president, Morgan Tsvangirai, in order to force him to agree to be a junior partner in a unity government.

Commenting on Tsvangirai’s rejection of a Southern African Development Community (Sadc) resolution calling for the MDC and Zanu PF to share the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ndlovu said President Robert Mugabe was frustrated by delays in setting up a government of national unity and it was important that measures were taken to compel Tsvangirai to get into the government. 

"The government has been lenient and patient with Tsvangirai and this leniency is not a sign of weakness," Ndlovu said. "We could have invoked serious harsh measures and arrested the MDC leadership long ago and went ahead to form a government in reaction to this interference by the West."

The MDC announced on Friday that it would join a unity government once the constitution had been amended to give effect to the September 15 agreement.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa dismissed Ndlovu’s statements as the "rantings of a loser".

He said Zimbabweans were suffering and the last thing they wanted was to have Tsvangirai or any of the leaders of the MDC arrested.

"Such statements can only be said by someone who has either lost his mind or an election," Chamisa said.

Commenting on Sadc’s ruling that MDC and Zanu PF should share the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ndlovu claimed that Zanu PF was not happy with the regional body’s decision.

"We have complied but we are not happy. It has always been Home Affairs under Zanu PF and we never intended to release it to the MDC.

"To co-share the ministry with the MDC is too much of a compromise on Zanu PF’s part and the ruling party will not go beyond that. No more compromises will be done by the ruling party."

Ndlovu also warned civic groups like the National Constitutional Assembly against "trying to destabilise" the country by staging nationwide protests to push for new elections.

"These are some of the things that the government does not want," he said. "These groups should stick to their core business or become political parties.

"We will not allow the NCA and its partners to derail the peace process. There is a machinery to deal with that."Last week, police beat up NCA activists for taking to the streets, demanding new elections in order to break the deadlock over the power-sharing arrangement between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations. However, the NCA said that despite the arrest of its activists, it would not be intimidated and would continue with the demonstrations. The Standard