Zimbabwe Leaders Call for Peace Amid Increased Political Violence

Posted November 12th, 2011 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
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Zimbabwe's top political leaders have called for an end to the country's chronic political violence, following a new spate of attacks on the prime minister's party.

President Robert Mugabe called on supporters Friday to not to disrupt other parties' gatherings, saying “People must hold their meetings freely.”

He and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the leaders of Zimbabwe's power-sharing government, addressed a joint meeting of their respective parties' senior members Friday.

But a political analyst and a rights group are questioning whether Mr. Mugabe is sincerely committed to bringing about a sustainable peace.

They say Mr.Mugabe has not disciplined any of the alleged perpetrators of the violence against backers of Mr. Tsvangirai's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change .

Mr. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for 31 years, as leader of the Zanu-PF party.

He entered into a power sharing agreement with Prime Minister Tsvangirai in 2008 following disputed elections. The coalition has had difficulty governing.

The political tension between the two rivals increased last week after Prime Minister Tsvangirai urged President Mugabe resign because of his health and advanced age.

There are reports that the 87-year-old Mr. Mugabe is being treated for prostate cancer, but he has not publicly confirmed his ailment.

Last Sunday, Mr.Mugabe returned from one of his several recent trips to Singapore, where he underwent an undisclosed medical treatment.

On his return, he declared himself fit.

President Mugabe has vowed to seek reelection next year.