Zimbabwe: Special SADC team meets as MDC arrests rise

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A special Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission on
Zimbabwe’s volatile political situation have began work to review progress of inclusive government forged between long time rivals President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The mission led by Mozambique’s Foreign Affairs Minister Oldemiro Baloi, includes Zambian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Fashion Phiri and his Swazi counterpart Lutho Dhlamini.

According to their work schedule they would for hold talks with Tsvangirai’s camp then later with Zanu PF. SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salamao and South African facilitators to the dialogue that led to the formation of the inclusive government, Frank Chikane and Monjaku Gumbi, are also part of the review team.

“The meeting is to review the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and we are also going to take into consideration what is going on,” Salamao told reporters after meeting SADC diplomats and Mutambara on Thursday morning.

The SADC review mission comes after MDC-T leader Tsvangirai announced
two weeks ago that his party would no longer attend Cabinet and was cutting all contact with Mugabe and his ZANU PF party until all outstanding issues to the GPA are resolved, plunging the unity government into its worst crisis since its formation in February.

“We are going to meet MDC-T, then later in the day we are going to meet representatives from ZANU PF,” Salamao said.

On Monday Tsvangirai and Mugabe met but failed to reach agreement on
a power-sharing dispute threatening Zimbabwe’s shaky coalition government.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said “nothing came out of the meeting”
“The principals met but nothing came out of the meeting. There is
discord in the appreciation of issues at hand and the differences seem
to be widening more after the meeting.”

Arrests and harassments

At least 17 MDC legislators have been arrested since the beginning of
the year on charges ranging from theft and public violence to rape and
playing music that denigrates Mugabe.

Last Saturday police raided Tsvangirai’s residency claiming they are
searching for stolen dangerous weapons from the police or the army. Two MDC MPs were later arrested in Bulawayo, 450 kilometers out of Harare and released the following day without a charge being preferred against them.

The two legislators, Luveve MP, Reggie Moyo and Albert Mhlanga, the
MP for Pumula were arrested on Saturday at a roadblock and were taken
to Bulawayo Central Police Station.

The police alleged that Moyo’s car was used to ferry weapons that were stolen from Pomona Barracks in Borrowdale, Harare. They were released on Sunday evening without being charged.

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