Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Interview with Morgan Tsvangirai

".......I ask him how he has coped. He smiles. "I have been living with this kind of stress for nine years. You learn to be resilient. My wife Susan has been with me all the way, she has been my strength."

He changes the subject, reluctant to talk about personal matters. During the past two months, he tells me, a total of 600 MDC activists have been abducted, beaten and tortured

by President Mugabe's hit squads. "There is now a total onslaught against the entire leadership, including the middle and lower ranks of the party. Everyone associated with the MDC has been declared a legitimate target."

Tsvangirai dismisses with contempt Mugabe's allegations that the MDC is responsible for recent bombings. It is a familiar Mugabe trick, he says, to invent reasons to arrest people.

In 1981, he recalls, Zanu-PF planted arms on the marginalised Ndebele tribe, and this was used to justify the infamous Gukurahundi massacre in which thousands died.

He's equally sombre when considering what happens next in Zimbabwe. I ask him if he thinks South Africa's "quiet diplomacy" policy will succeed? "I am not a disciple of quiet diplomacy, but I wish Thabo Mbeki all the best in trying to negotiate a solution to the crisis."

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