The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: 'We've Nothing to Hide'

Harare — President scoffs at MDC violence claims PRESIDENT Mugabe has challenged the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction to substantiate allegations of politically motivated violence it claimed was being perpetrated against its supporters saying the Government has nothing to hide.

The faction claimed at a Press conference in Harare last week that the Government was persecuting, maiming and killing its members.

"From out of the blue, his (Mr Morgan Tsvangirai's) party is making unsubstantiated reports of growing and sustained politically motivated violence being perpetrated against its supporters.

"We have decided to show them and their sponsors that we have nothing to hide. Through the appropriate Government ministry, we have asked them to provide irrefutable evidence of the serious charge of politically motivated violence they are making," said Cde Mugabe while officially opening the 71st Ordinary Session of the Zanu-PF Central Committee at the Zanu-PF Headquarters in Harare yesterday.

Earlier this week, Home Affairs Minister Cde Kembo Mohadi invited Mr Tsvangirai to his offices to substantiate the claims.

Mr Tsvangirai, however, sent his secretary for home affairs Mr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, faction spokesman Mr Nelson Chamisa, secretary for legal affairs Mr Innocent Gonese and party activist Mr Kerry Kay, who presented a list of alleged victims, which Mr Mohadi said, was based on hearsay.

Cde Mohadi urged MDC leaders to first raise their concerns with the Government and substantiate their claims instead of rushing with them to the media.

"Let it be known that we will not take kindly to 'cry wolf' boys, desperately pretending to be politicians and seeking to embellish their faltering ambitions through falsehoods.

"Their masters, those who unashamedly outdid themselves in the MDC violence in March, should also take heed, that we will not accept any tomfoolery that seeks to poison our political environment ahead of our historic harmonised elections early next year," said Cde Mugabe.

The President commended the maturity shown by Members of the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament in unanimously passing Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 18) Bill, which seeks, among other things, to harmonise presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.

He said the unity reaffirmed the message that has been preached that it is only Zimbabweans who are best placed to understand and address their challenges.

The President said Zimbabwe's problems were exaggerated as demonstrated by the unity of legislators during debate on the Bill.

"You may recall that when I addressed the recent 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, I reminded (US President George W.) Bush, his previous bosom-buddie Blair, and the unelected British Prime Minister (Gordon) Brown that they should keep their tainted hands off our country and respect our sovereignty.

"I also thanked President Mbeki as I wish to thank him again today, for the very important role he has played in helping to improve political discourse in our country," he said.

"It is, therefore, unacceptable that in light of the positive strides we have made, others like Morgan Tsvangirai, who is always the joker, find it necessary to frustrate this fledgling process. When will he learn that politics is more than the amateurish attitude that has become his hallmark?"

The President called for maturity and unity of purpose in the selection of candidates ahead of the next year's elections, saying Central Committee members should lead by example in everything they do as they are at the helm of the party in between congresses.

He said Zanu-PF supporters should know that they are more than the biblical neighbours but brothers and sisters hence the need to remain united.

"We are not each other's enemies, not even what the Bible says, neighbours, but we are brothers and sisters. We are one, simunye. Somehow when we go to elections we become disorganised by the little ambitions of some people . . .

"Ngatirege kuita zvakaitika kuMashonaland Best (West) kurovera bhora musango sezvakaitika kuKadoma . . . Avoid rumours, avoid groups to undo one another, be forthright on issues that have to do with the party's future, its reorganisation, its election, these are issues to be discussed openly not in an untoward way."

The President said reports of problems in some structures and areas needed to be addressed decisively as should unfair campaign practices employed by some party members preparing themselves for elections next year.

"So we must guard our party in terms of policy, against deviation from policy. Ndosaka tichiti vanhu vapanduka, they would have deviated from the party. The party recognises its procedure, the need for people to work through its structures, to earlier agreements within these structures, to bring those problems to those structures to various levels," said President Mugabe.

He warned manufacturers against unjustified price increases of basic foodstuffs and goods as witnessed recently saying Government would not brook their mischief and political agenda as this was stretching the State's patience to the limit.

Some retailers have tried to play a fair game but their efforts have been undercut by manufactures bent on profiteering, said the President.

"Perhaps our own side, the National Incomes and Pricing Commission and related authorities should get their act together and stop the daylight robbery of our people. It does not help to improve the wages of our people if the next day those wages do not go in their pockets but to these manufacturers," he said.

Government's farm mechanisation programme and the prospects of good rains, he said, have imbued farmers with a spirit of "battle readiness", as they prepare for the next farming season.

The President commended the relevant Government arms for the sterling work in spearheading the farm mechanisation programme.

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