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Zimbabwe

Diplomatic community condemns violence

The Herald

Fidelis Munyoro  and Joseph Madzimure

The diplomatic community has criticised the MDC-Alliance leadership for expending energy on violent demonstrations bent on reversing the Second Republic’s milestones in turning around the country’s economic fortunes.

The party announced that it will be rolling out mass demonstrations across the country’s major cities from today.

Police have unearthed evidence that MDC-Alliance foot soldiers have been distributing dangerous weapons which include stones and catapults to attack security agents maintaining law and order.

Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador Mawampanga Mwanananga criticised the MDC-Alliance-planned protests describing the party’s action as grandstanding.

“In their wisdom, the MDC should know that the country held elections and it split the votes, taking all major cities while the ruling party won the majority rural votes,” he said in an interview last night.

“By splitting the votes, they entrusted Zanu-PF to run the central Government and what the MDC want to do today is grandstanding.”

MDC-Alliance, Ambassador Mwanananga said, should focus on running councils properly for thr people who voted for them and contribute to the development of the nation.

“The MDC-run councils should concentrate on providing services to their constituency. It does not make sense to embark on retrogressive protests when their people are suffering,” he said.

“In fact, the opposition should be focusing on providing transport to their voters in urban areas and all the services they deserve than calling them to the streets.”

The European Union (EU) shared similar sentiments.

In a statement, the EU reiterated that citizens have rights to freedom of assembly and peaceful protests.

“We urge demonstrators to abstain from violence or vandalism and call on security forces to exercise resstraint and proportionality,” read the statement.

Earlier on, Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Rungsung Masakui urged Zimbabweans to be patient and focused as Government implements economic austerity measures.

He said it was the duty of the opposition party to protest against the existing Government, saying in India there were protests every day. Such actions, he said, were retrogressive to any country’s development.

“It is good for democracy to have a strong opposition party that criticises and it is their way of airing their grievances,” said Mr Masakui.

“But their grievances must be aired peacefully in Parliament rather than engaging in violent activities and destroying other people’s properties.”

He was speaking at the 73rd Indian independence celebrations in Harare yesterday.

Ambassador Masakui said Zimbabwe political and economic reforms will open up democratic space in the Second Republic.

“The New Dispensation is repealing laws, which were put in place by the old dispensation. It’s a process which cannot be achieved overnight,” he said.

“The opposition must speak in Parliament and speak against the policy of the Government, and it is enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, but should do so peacefully and amicably.

“If you ask me about the opposition in India, we have demonstrations every day and it is not an issue at all, but it must be peaceful and I hope they understand better.”

Ambassador Masakui said the current austerity measures undertaken by the Zimbabwean Government are not new since most countries have gone under the same process.

“The austerity measures that are being put in place will definitely address the economic challenges facing the country.

“India has gone the same process and achieved its turnaround around economic process. What the Government of Zimbabwe is doing is commendable, but it requires patience. It is a process which cannot bring results overnight. It requires efforts from all the players to achieve the intended results,” he said.

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