Unrest in Zimbabwe: Western
'bias' upsets government
  

Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge told 65 foreign diplomats in Zimbabwe that the authorities had been justified in using force to quash a series of anti-government marches which began on Monday.

 

He insisted the protests were illegal.

  

Mudenge said the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had "wilfully decided to ignore" a court order banning the five-day mass strike and street demonstrations, aimed at ousting President Robert Mugabe from power.

  

He said the government would have failed in its duty to uphold the rule of law if it had stood by and watched the MDC defy the court ruling.

  

"It is therefore disturbing that some Western governments have supported the MDC's lawlessness and hooliganism by criticising the government for upholding the rule of law," he said.

  

This exposes the hypocrisy and double standards of these external financiers and handlers of the MDC, Mudenge said.

 

Regrettable

 

He lashed out at the recent Group of Eight summit for voicing concern over the crackdown by state authorities against opposition activists in Zimbabwe.

  

Mudenge regretted that the G8 summit had thought it fit to criticise the government's efforts to maintain law and order. At the same time, it had deliberately ignored the illegal acts of the MDC, he said.

 

The summit leaders had also kept quiet over the many incidents of violence perpetrated by the opposition to overthrow a legally constituted government, Mudenge said.

  

Scores of MDC supporters and university students have been assaulted and two have been shot and injured in clashes with security forces since the start of the opposition-led protests.

  

The MDC said security officials had been raiding the homes of some of its officials and indiscriminately assaulting the occupants.

  

Mudenge said the country's security forces had "shown professionalism and alertness in a provocative situation" and would not allow Mugabe to be removed from power by force.