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Tsvangirai shelves protests

Ray Matikinye

MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s diplomatic charm offensive to drum up support appears to have temporarily put a planned “cold winter of resistance” on the back burner in favour of international intervention t

o help end Zimbabwe’s crisis.

Sources in London say Tsvangirai told supporters in the British capital on Saturday that the purpose of the MDC struggle was “not to unlawfully overthrow President Mugabe but to crank up pressure on his government and enable fundamental negotiations on constitutional matters leading to free and fair elections”.

Tsvangirai said any protests against government would be based on non-violence and lawful resistance.

Zimbabweans should therefore not be misled to think that the party wants an unlawful removal of Mugabe, he said.

The MDC appears to have softened its stance adopted at its national congress in March where Tsvangirai promised to lead protests to “remove Mugabe”.

Most MDC supporters were bracing for a showdown with government over deteriorating living standards and a collapsing economy blamed largely on President Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party.

But indications are that hard-pressed Zimbabweans will have to wait a little longer before the “cold winter of resistance” begins.

Party insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the MDC was putting together an engagement package that Mugabe will find “very hard to resist”. The package will determine Zanu PF’s sincerity in moving the country forward.

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