MDC wants to enlighten regional leaders

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, said at the weekend it would "enlighten" the SADC leaders who had dismissed the country's crises as exaggerated.

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, said at the weekend it would "enlighten" the SADC leaders who had dismissed the country's crises as exaggerated.

"We will continue to enlighten Southern African Development Community (SADC) on the crises affecting us, which have resulted in our people fleeing to other countries in large numbers," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said, reacting to a statement by Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa.

On Friday Mwanawasa, also chairman of SADC, said : "We feel the problems in Zimbabwe have been exaggerated."

The country, he added, would find a solution to its economic woes.

In the throes of an economic crisis, Zimbabwe is plagued with hyperinflation well past the 5000percent mark, four in five people are jobless, and 80percent of the population live below the poverty threshold.

Chamisa said the MDC was discouraged and disappointed by Mugabe's insistence that problems were minimal.

"We would have thought Mugabe would have at least owned up and said we have a challenge, which would need the ruling party and the opposition to sit and talk," the spokesman said.

The 83-year-old Mugabe, who has ruled his country for nearly three decades, has blamed the country's woes on drought and the imposition of targeted sanctions by Western nations against himself and members of his inner circle.

But critics say problems started with a much-disputed government land reform programme in 2000 that saw thousands of white-owned commercial farms seized and redistributed to government cronies and a handful of landless blacks.

A South African a newspaper on Saturday lashed out at President Thabo Mbeki and SADC leaders for allegedly being soft on Mugabe at the just-concluded summit in Zambian capital Lusaka.

"The SADC leaders are a pathetic, week-kneed bunch, judging by their inability to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis," the newspaper said in its editorial.

"And none is more ineffectual than Mbeki, mandated by the SADC to facilitate a political solution, he has got precisely nowhere," it said. - Sapa-AFP

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