MDC Asks UN Envoy To Intervene

THE MDC this week asked the United Nations (UN) envoy Haile Menkerios to intervene and urge President Robert Mugabe to stop the violence by Zanu PF youths and war veterans against its members ahead of next Friday’s presidential run-off.

 

Menkerios, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for political affairs, who is in the country to assess the political situation ahead of the run-off, met MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai at his Strathaven home on Wednesday.

He also met Mugabe at State House before meeting officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), civic society organisations, the police, and others.

Menkerios was expected to wind up his tour of Zimbabwe today but officials at the United Nations headquarters in New York suggested he could extend his stay in the country by up to three days.

The spokesperson for UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, Michelle Montas, told journalists that Menkerios’ agenda would probably exceed its plan by “two or three days”.

Sources that attended the meeting between Tsvangirai and Menkerios told the Zimbabwe Independent that the MDC leader expressed concern at the continued violent behaviour of Zanu PF supporters against the MDC.

“In the meeting, the president (Tsvangirai) appraised the UN envoy about the situation obtaining in the country where there has been a calculated violent approach by Zanu PF youths and war veterans against MDC supporters,” one of the sources said. “He was also told that it was impossible for our president to campaign for the run-off given that MDC rallies had been banned by the police at the behest of Mugabe and Zanu PF. Basically, it (the discussion) was about the electoral environment in general.”

The lack of access to the state media, and the arrests and harassment of MDC officials were some of the issues that came under discussion.

The MDC, the sources said, also provided Menkerios with a dossier on the violence that had been unleashed against its supporters. The dossier, they added, contained case outlines of the more than 66 activists who had been allegedly killed by Zanu PF supporters, the 200 unaccounted for, as well as all those that had been displaced by the violence.

“He was also appraised on the security situation of MDC polling agents in light of the fact that the regime has warned activists that if they agree to be polling agents they will be killed. The MDC also expressed grave concern about Mugabe’s threats to go to war, his hate speech along tribal and racial lines and his overt attempt to polarise Zimbabwean society,” the sources added.

The MDC leader is said to have told Menkerios that he was intent on forming a government of national healing should he win the presidential run-off.

Speaking at the UN headquarters, Montas said that Ban had been briefed on the need for the UN to provide assistance to Sadc for the smooth monitoring of the presidential run-off.

“Following his meeting with President Mugabe yesterday (Wednesday), Menkerios said he is in Zimbabwe to learn what the conditions on the ground are like ahead of the forthcoming elections and to see what the UN can do to support Zimbabwe,” Montas said.

“He said the UN will be supporting the Southern African Development Community to boost its capacity to observe the election,” said Montas.

By Nkululeko Sibanda