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Sunday, 25 May 2008

New hope as Tsvangirai returns

The opposition leader defies death threats to witness the suffering of his supporters.

Dismissing growing accusations of cowardice, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's oppositon, was back home in Harare yesterday, Saturday, and seeing for himself the results of the systematic programme of terror instituted against his people by Mugabe's Zanu-PF militia.

Tsvangiria, leader of the opposition Movement for Demcratic Change (MDC) and winner of the recent parliamentary and presidential elections, toured the wards of a private clinic where dozens of wounded MDC activisits are struggling to recover.

He came to bring words of comfort, but was met by strong assurances of continued support by the victims.

Two elderly brothers - August (66) and Beson Jemidzi (54) - occupying adjacent beds, told him: "Kurova Zvavo asi tinemi!" (They might beat us but we are behind you." Neither men are yet able to walk.

Runyararo Mugauyi, 27, also confined to bed with appalling wounds to both buttocks after being attacked by Zanu-PF thugs in Chaona, Chiweshe, in Mashonaland Central, told Tsvangirai: "I need someone to carry me back home so I can vote the old man (Mugabe) out."

After his visit, Tsvangirai told a media conference that he had been inspired by the heroic suffering of the victims, and by their determination to fight on.

Earlier tight security was in place for his arrival at Harare airport, and on the journey into town. Police had set up two road-blocks on the route, but his party was allowed through after only a basic check.

He later told reporters that during his stay out of the country he had met many leaders of countries in the region, and he predicted that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) would convene a summit shortly to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe.

He said it was vital that the SADC and the African Union (AU) have observers in the country from the first days of next month, to monitor events in the run-up to the new presidential election on June 27.

He also dismissed any possibility of a government of national unity, and denied that any secret talks were taking place between Zanu-PF and the MDC.

He claimed that the recent attacks on Zimbabwean emmigrants in South Africa can be directly attributed to Mugabe's repression. "His policies have forced thousands to flee their ancestral homes to find refuge in South Africa. Now, however, instead of a safe-haven, our people in the South African diaspora face even more death and destruction."

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