Zimbabwe President Talks of Resolving Differences Peacefully

(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said dialogue and peaceful means could be used to resolve differences that led to violent protests last month.

“It’s my hope that this inaugural dialogue by political parties will provide a firm foundation upon which we, together, and without undue foreign influence, build the Zimbabwe we want,” Mnangagwa said on Wednesday at the start of an inter-party dialogue by National Peace and Reconciliation Commission in Harare. “Outsiders can come and assist us, but the prime responsibility for our country’s development remains ours.”

Thousands of people poured onto the streets of Harare and other cities last month when the main labor federation called a three-day strike after fuel prices were more than doubled to the highest in the world.

Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance party didn’t attend the inaugural talks, saying it had 10 demands that had to be met before it would sit down with Mnangagwa.

In an emailed statement from its Harare headquarters, the MDC said Zimbabwe’s government must send the military back to barracks, return to the rule of law and release the hundreds of people who were arrested after protests began on Jan. 14.

The party also demanded the “immediate cessation of all forms of violence against the people, including rape, killings, shootings, torture, abductions as well as a genuine and transparent process to bring to book those responsible for killing, raping and maiming defenseless citizens.”

Calls to Mnangagwa’s team, seeking comment outside of office hours, weren’t answered.

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