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cleric says MDC a stumbling block to change
December 18, 2006
Outspoken Zimbabwe Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube on Thursday said
the country's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party lacked visionary leadership and had become a stumbling
block to efforts to achieve democratic change in the country.
Ncube, a critic of President
Robert Mugabe, said while the veteran President should be held accountable
for the country's political and economic crisis, the two leaders
of the splintered MDC were also to blame for their failure to provide
resolute and visionary leadership to multitudes of Zimbabweans itching
The MDC, which came closest
to unseating Mugabe in elections 2000 and 2002, has since lost much
of its potency after splitting last year into two rival camps the
larger one led by the opposition party's founding leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai and another one led by prominent academic Arthur
"I do not have
respect either for Tsvangirai or Mutambara. I blame both factions,
they lack leadership vision therefore we must try and identify another
leader," said Ncube at the launch in Johannesburg of an audio
and visual report on increasing police brutality against perceived
political opponents of the government.
The report entitled:
Policing the state - an evaluation of 1 981 political arrests
in Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2005, that was prepared by the Solidarity
Peace Trust which Ncube co-chairs, says Mugabe's government
had reverted to the same brutal and repressive policing methods
used by colonial authorities to retain control over a restive populace.
A Ukraine-style mass
revolt by Zimbabweans to push Mugabe to embrace democracy and human
rights was possible but only on condition there was a drastic shake-up
and reconfiguration of the opposition ranks, according to the report.
Zimbabwe is grappling
with its worst ever economic crisis, critics blame on mismanagement
The crisis, described
by the World Bank as the worst in the world outside a war zone,
has seen the country battling shortages of food, fuel, electricity,
essential medicines, hard cash and basically every basic commodity,
while inflation is more than 1 000 percent.
But Mugabe has relied
on the army to keep public discontent in check while his ruling
ZANU PF party meets tomorrow at Goromonzi, less than 100 km east
of Harare, to endorse extending the 82-year old leader's tenure
by another two years.
Mugabe's term was
to end in 2008 but ZANU PF plans to use its overwhelming majority
in Parliament to amend the Constitution to enable him to rule until
academic Brian Raftopoulos also speaking at the launch of the Solidarity
report on police brutality said while Zimbabweans have been accused
of being too docile, they had in fact tried to stand up to Mugabe's
The state had however
been ruthless in its response, closing off democratic space, arresting
opponents and re-moulding itself into a semi-militarised structure.
Raftopoulos said: "There
is increasing closure of political space in Zimbabwe. The state
has since been restructured. The regime is relying on policing all
ministries. Arrests are being used to pre-empt any voices of dissent.
This has weakened both the civic and opposition." - ZimOnline
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