Mugabe and Tsvangirai call for peace in Zimbabwe

2011-11-11 14:14

Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai today called for peace and political tolerance in the country after a series of attacks on the premier’s party.

“We want to live in a peaceful country,” Mugabe said after a meeting of top leaders in Zimbabwe’s unity government. The meeting was called after an attack last weekend on a Tsvangirai rally.

“People must hold their meetings freely. Don’t stand in the way of those entitled to hold their meetings. Don’t campaign against their meetings. Don’t force people to come to your meeting,” he said.

“We are bound together by our nationality, singing the same national anthem,” Mugabe said.

“If we could reconcile with the whites, now as fellow blacks, why do we trouble each other. Why do we fight?”

Political tensions have risen as Zimbabwe looks towards new elections, possibly next year.

Pro-Mugabe militants have routinely disrupted political meetings in rural areas, but this month the unrest moved into the capital.

Ten days ago, riot police fired tear gas into Tsvangirai’s party headquarters during a riot in downtown Harare. On Sunday, pro-Mugabe militants stoned Tsvangirai’s rally outside the capital.

“I urge law enforcement agents to begin to take their national responsibilities seriously. State agents, especially the police, must protect the people and not harm the people,” Tsvangirai said.

“We are creating a good culture of peace and tolerance in our structures,” Tsvangirai said.

“This programme must cascade down to the lowest structure, the branch and cell, to preach non-violence and tolerance.”

The two leaders formed a coalition government in February 2009 after violent elections the previous year.

Tsvangirai took the first-round presidential vote, sparking a wave of violence that left more than 200 of his supporters dead and prompted him to pull out of the runoff.

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