|Tsvangirai returns home
By Tererai Karimakwenda
May 24, 2008-05-24
MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai is back in Zimbabwe where he is due to start campaigning for the presidential run-off election that is scheduled for June 27. The MDC leader has been away for some weeks, and he delayed his return last week after saying their intelligence unit had uncovered information about an assassination plot. More than 30 MDC party supporters and officials have been murdered by ruling party youths, so-called war veterans and armed soldiers since the March 29 elections.
Pedzisai Ruhanya from the Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe confirmed that Tsvangirai had arrived in Harare. He said the MDC leader immediately went to the Avenues Clinic to visit victims of state sponsored violence. Ruhanya said Tsvangirai was shocked by the klevel of brutality that he saw. Many hospitals around the country are full of people with broken limbs, burned backs and other serious torture wounds.
Ruhanya said Tsvangirai left the clinic and held a press conference at the Meikles Hotel. Essentially he condemned the ongoing violence and pleaded with the government to put an end to it. He also appealed for assistance from the region and the international community.
Tsvangirai had requested that the family of slain activist Tonderai Ndira delay his funeral until Saturday afternoon when he would be arriving on Zimbabwean soil. Reports say that he landed at Harare Airport on Saturday, but it is not clear whether he proceeded to Ndira's funeral. Ndira had been missing since his abduction last week. Police claim they found his body somewhere near Parirenyatwa Hospital Friday, partially decomposing. There were signs that the popular opposition activist had been brutally tortured.
Earlier in the week the MDC leader had been criticized for staying away from home too long while his supporters continue being murdered, assaulted and intimidated by state agents. Tsvangirai refused to address this issue in an interview, preferring only to ask his supporters to trust him and his approach at this critical period before the runoff election.
Information about Ndira’s funeral has been difficult to come by because many journalists are not covering the event, for fear of being targeted by the regime. This plays directly into Mugabe’s hand as he is attempting to shut down media space ahead of the election.