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Zimbabwe: UN publicly fingers MDC-T for violence
Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2008

By Caesar Zvayi
May 01, 2008
The Herald

THE MDC-T campaign to demonise the Government for alleged violence and human rights abuses came unstuck on Tuesday when the United Nations Secretariat also publicly fingered the opposition for violence against Zanu-PF supporters.

This came minutes before the world body snubbed attempts by the MDC-T's Western handlers to have Zimbabwe on the agenda of the Security Council as a prelude to intervention, saying it was only "the UK and the US who have been the most vocal on the issue" while Africa was for quiet diplomacy.

In his briefing to the Security Council meeting on Wednesday, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Mr B. Lynn Pascoe said though the MDC-T claimed Zanu-PF had launched a campaign of violence against its supporters, reports indicated that MDC-T supporters were also resorting to violence and intimidation.

"There are reports that Zanu-PF has incited a campaign of abuses against MDC officials and supporters . . . Reports also suggested 'an emerging pattern of political violence inflicted mainly, but not exclusively, on rural supporters of the opposition MDC party', some reports also indicated some MDC supporters were resorting to violence and intimidation."

He noted that though the MDC-T leadership claimed that 10 of its supporters had died as a result of politically-motivated violence, the police and Zanu-PF had denied the assertions.

"The MDC says at least 10 of its supporters have been killed. However, the police and Zanu-PF deny any deaths due to political violence," Mr Pascoe said.

Mr Pascoe's observations are vindicated by a document prepared by the MDC-T leadership chronicling alleged cases of politically-motivated violence from March 29 that does not report any deaths contrary to the claims made by the party leadership in the South African and Western media.

Police say they have handled over 75 cases of politically-motivated violence perpetrated by MDC-T supporters while the opposition alleges that Zanu-PF supporters were involved in 27 instances of violence against their supporters.

Official records from the CID Law and Order Section show that the department has dealt with 33 cases of violence, most of which stemmed from the abortive stayaway called by the MDC-T.

So far, 10 opposition supporters have appeared in court with two of the cases already finalised, 11 others have paid admission of guilt fines while 13 are still under investigation. A further 53 accused persons have paid fines for various offences of politically-motivated violence.

A letter from MDC-T MP-elect for the St Mary's constituency that we reproduce in full on the letters page also situates violence within opposition circles.

Sources at the UN Secretariat said the world body had counselled caution over claims by the MDC-T leadership, saying many of the claims made since the elections had been found to be false or were not substantiated by facts.

They cited the statement made by MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti on April 2, claiming his party had won 80 percent of the House of Assembly seats which would have translated into 168 of the 210 seats when it had managed only 99 seats; and the claim that Morgan Tsvangirai had garnered 50,3 percent of the vote yet the figures the party quoted gave him 49,1 percent of the votes.

Last week, two suspected MDC-T supporters appeared in court, facing charges of arson after the opposition allegedly unleashed an organised campaign of violence at Mayo Resettlement Area in Headlands where they torched more than eight homesteads belonging to Zanu-PF supporters.

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