Leaders blamed for Zimbabwe strike flop

Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition leaders have been accused of failing the people of Zimbabwe because of their obsession with wanting to "play it safe", a factor that largely caused the failure of Thursday's national strike.

The two-day strike called by an alliance of civic groups to protest against President Robert Mugabe's repression flopped because the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which commands the largest support base of any civic group, only joined it at the eleventh hour.

Leaders of other civic groups involved in organising the strike did not issue any public calls in support of the action for fear of being arrested and jailed.

In a country with no independent electronic media outlets, the MDC's belated message on Wednesday night calling on its supporters to join the strike could not have reached many of them.

Civic activist Lovemore Madhuku had announced that the strike was being backed by a broad alliance comprising the MDC, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition, churches, student groups and others.

But none of the leaders of these organisations came out publicly to urge their members to strike. - Independent Foreign Service

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