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Zimbabwe opposition boycotts Kabila speech

The Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Tuesday boycotted a special address to parliament by DRC President Joseph Kabila, whose government President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is backing in the Congo war, the BBC reported on Wednesday. All 56 MDC members stayed away from parliament as Kabila gave the 30-minute address, the report said. The MDC is bitterly opposed to Mugabe’s 1998 decision to have some 12,000 Zimbabwean soldiers deployed in the DRC. “The involvement of Zimbabwe in the DRC has brought untold suffering to the ordinary men and women of Zimbabwe, who suffer fuel and food shortages directly attributable to the millions of Zimbabwean money pumped into the DRC war,” the BBC quoted an MDC statement as saying. Mugabe criticised the MDC for their action, describing them on state television as “imbeciles”. “Opposition members are disgraceful for walking out as President Kabila addressed parliament,” Mugabe said. In his speech to parliament, Kabila praised Mugabe for his military support for the Congolese government (in its war with Congolese rebel movements, backed by Uganda and Rwanda). “Zimbabweans have all reasons to be proud of what they have accomplished in the DRC,” he said. Analysts in Zimbabwe expressed some surprise that Kabila should have addressed parliament in the first place, since the MDC was so opposed to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) intervention in the Congo and was not averse to expressing itself volubly in parliament.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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