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news - Tsvangirai Puts Heat on Mugabe as EU Retains Sanctions

september 14th, 2009

The full article follows below.

You can watch a video of Tsvangirai's speech here.

"Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister of Zimbabwe, took a new tough stance against President Robert Mugabe yesterday, warning: 'You misjudge me at your peril.' Tsvangirai said he would consult the public on whether the fraught unity government was still tenable.

His hard line came as the first European Union delegation to visit Zimbabwe since 2002 said that targeted sanctions would not be lifted until the political rivals had resolved their differences.

Tsvangirai, addressing a rally to mark the 10th anniversary of his party, the Movement for Democratic Change, insisted that he would no longer tolerate violations of the power sharing agreement by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

'I am not going to stand by while Zanu-PF continue to violate the law, persecute our members of parliament, spread the language of hate, invade our productive farms…ignore our international treaties,' the prime minister told thousands of supporters in Bulawayo. 'I am not going to stand by and let this happen.'

In a tone that seemed to hover between defiance and exhaustion, Tsvangirai said: 'I have done my part to promote reconciliation in this country. Even after winning the election, I have compromised for the sake of Zimbabwe. But don't misjudge me. You misjudge me at your peril.'

He added: 'We want partners that are sincere. We want partners who are going to commit themselves to good governance principles. We cannot have partners of looters.'

The MDC was formed on 11 September 1999 when a coalition of civil rights groups and churches launched a party to challenge Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980. It joined a unity government in February in an attempt to end the political unrest that erupted after last year's failed elections. But the party says its supporters still suffer political attacks.

Tsvangirai, who has been criticized by some supporters for being too compliant, announced an initiative to consult the public on the future of the unity government during the next month. 'We are coming to you. Is this government sustainable? It is you, the people, who shall give us direction.'"

MORE: "Tsvangirai puts heat on Mugabe as EU retains sanctions" (guardian.co.uk)

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