Zimbabwean Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai has come under rare attack from an international human rights group accusing his party of shielding
abuses by ZANU PF in a bid to save Zimbabwe’s fragile government.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the power-sharing
government formed by the MDC-T and ZANU PF last February has failed to
end rights abuses.
According to the watch dog, Zimbabwe has made no attempt to repeal or
amend repressive legislations such as the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA), which continue to be used by President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU
PF to harass political opponents and rights activists.
“The MDC lacks real power and does not consistently speak out against
the continued abuses, possibly seeking to save the fledgling power-sharing government,” the watchdog said in its recently released 2009 annual report.
It claims that ZANU PF uses its control of the security forces and the judiciary to harass, abduct, torture and kill those it considers opponents.
Mugabe’s supporters have continued to violently invade commercial farms in total disregard of the rule of law, while police intimidation and harassment of MDC-T and human rights activists persist unabated.
MDC-T has no solution to ZANU PF’s continued abuse of power, it claimed.
It is rare for a human rights organisation to attack the premier who has been hailed by a majority as a brave, courageous human rights champion for Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai announced in October last year that the MDC-T had “disengaged” from the unity government, ostensibly over the treatment
of a senior aide but mainly due to intensified ZANU PF attacks on his supporters.
This was followed by a two-week stand-off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in which the latter led a boycott of Cabinet meetings chaired by the 85-year-old leader.
The boycott was called off after the intervention of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in November.
At its congress last December, ZANU PF resolved that there should be no
movement on the concerns raised by MDC-T before the latter successfully negotiates for the lifting of travel restrictions and an asset freeze imposed on Mugabe’s cronies by the West.
The congress instructed Mugabe and ZANU PF negotiators “to ensure that
all outstanding issues, once agreed, must be implemented concurrently”.