A ‘new era’ for Zimbabwe?

GRANTHAM, Pa. (Aug. 26, 2008)—In a secret vote on Monday, Zimbabwean legislators elected Lovemore Moyo, the national chairman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), as the speaker of parliament. Moyo won the appointment in a narrow margin over his only opponent, Paul Themba-Nyathi, who had the support of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. As speaker of parliament, Moyo will hold the fourth most powerful position in the country, and the event marks the first time in Zimbabwe’s history that an opposition lawmaker has held the post.

Following Moyo’s induction, Robert Mugabe, the highly-contested president of Zimbabwe, convened parliament against the objections of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who ran against Mugabe in the presidential election earlier this year. Tsvangirai opposed Mugabe’s move to assemble parliament because of the possible adverse effects doing so might have on the already-strained power-sharing talks taking place between him and Mugabe.

As Mugabe addressed the convened parliament on Tuesday, however, he was met with blatant resistance. Members of the MDC booed and, according to BBC reporters, yelled, “You killed people, we won’t forget that,” as he spoke, an embarrassing spectacle for Mugabe since the speech was broadcast live on national television.

Ever since the March 2008 elections, when the ZANU-PF party lost the majority vote it had held in the House of Assembly since Mugabe’s coming to power in 1980, open opposition to his rule has increased. In an interview with the BBC, Moyo’s optimistically stated, “I feel this is the beginning of the new era in parliament, the era probably when the executive has to find ways of negotiating with the legislature in order to put through programs.”

Though some advances have been made which will hopefully have far-reaching and long-term effects in the country, the threat of upheaval remains as reports of opposition party members being detained by police continue to surface.

Brethren in Christ must be vigilant in our prayers for continued peace and change in Zimbabwe.

MDC heckle Mugabe in parliament” (BBC)
Mugabe heckled at Zimbabwe parliament opening” (CNN)