Zimbabwe opposition wants torture camps to close

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Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Monday reiterated its demand to have ‘torture camps’ in Zimbabwe’s rural areas disbanded as a pre-condition for free and fair elections in the South African state.

“We are fighting a regime that knows power more than any regime in the world, a regime that if you cut Mugabe’s veins, blood doesn’t flow, it is power that flows. We have a duty to protect ourselves,” MDC Secretary-General Tendai told a news conference here.

Zimbabwe is gearing for a fresh poll after the opposition failed to clinch an absolute majority of the presidential votes required to dislodge President Robert Mugabe from power but the party insists it won outright, the 29 March presidential polls.

The opposition has also reiterated its demand for a fully independent electoral commission in addition to enhanced freedom of movement, an assured sense of security, the freedom of association and the freedom to hold public rallies as key ingredients.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has ordered a re-run of the votes on 27 June to determine the winner of the presidential race as required by the constitution.

The ruling ZANU-PF has previously dismissed demands by the opposition to have a list of demands fulfilled to pave way for the fresh poll, which the MDC said would ‘bury’ Mugabe’s 28-year rule.

ZANU-PF officials said it would not listen to such demands unless they are in the constitution, under which the presidential re-run would be conducted.

Zimbabwe’s political crisis has been deepening by the day and the opposition has warned the situation might deteriorate to alarming proportions unless urgent measures are taken.

“There must be an immediate disbandment of all the militias. There must be a disbandment of all the torture camps in the countryside,” Biti reiterated.

The opposition said at least 37 of its supporters have been killed in the torture chambers since the presidential elections were held 29 March.

Biti accused the African Union (AU) and the United Nations of failing to act swiftly to end the political impasse in the South African country.

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