PM lashes out at Zanu-PF

2009-09-13 22:18

Bulawayo - Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday accused President Robert Mugabe's party of violating their power-sharing deal, as thousands rallied to mark his party's 10th anniversary.

Despite guarantees of political freedoms in the unity accord, Mugabe's Zanu-PF party continues to persecute supporters of his Movement for Democratic Change, Tsvangirai said.

"I am not going to stand by while Zanu-PF continues to violate the law, persecute our members of parliament, spreads the language of hate, invades our productive farms (and) ignores our international treaties," he said.

"I am not going to stand by and let this happen," he said, to cheers from the crowd that included dancers in feathered masks, traditional drummers and families with children sprawled on the grass.

"We want partners that are sincere... We want partners who are going to commit themselves to good governance principles," he said. "We cannot have partners of looters."

Problematic unity govt

Tsvangirai joined Mugabe in a unity government in February in a bid to end political unrest that erupted after last year's failed elections.

But the two remain deadlocked over key appointments, while Mugabe stands accused of dragging his feet over reforming media laws and the security forces.

Despite these tensions, life for most Zimbabweans has improved this year, after the local currency was abandoned following years of hyperinflation.

Shops across the country closed their doors last year, unable to replenish stocks, while crops failed across the country, leaving nearly seven million people in need of food aid - more than half the country.

'We are free'

This year, the UN estimates that less than three million people will need food aid, while businesses are slowly resuming operations, though most of the population remains deeply impoverished.

"We are now free. We can work, we can eat. Now we can eat bread," said Gladys Sengwayo, a 44-year-old who brought her infant granddaughter and three other family members to the rally.

"Last year, we were suffering. Some people died at home. We had nothing to eat," she said.

The MDC was formed on September 11, 1999 after a coalition of rights groups, churches and civic society agreed to launch an opposition party to challenge Mugabe's rule.