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An Opportunity for Hope

Jul 23, 2008, 5:50 AM

Its seems at last as if there may be light at the end of the tunnel for the people of Zimbabwe. A new deal has been signed which says that power-sharing talks between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC should be completed within two weeks.

The people of that beleaguered nation have waited a long time for progress of this kind and both sides in the talks must keep the suffering of the people foremost in their minds as they engage in dialogue.

Zimbabweans have warmly welcomed a deal setting a framework for talks on the country's political crisis.

Residents in Harare and Bulawayo told the BBC they were excited at news of the agreement, saying they hoped it would allow a return to normal life.

One resident in the capital, Harare, told the BBC that Zimbabweans were "looking forward to peace and development."

"We should make sure people have enough food and enough medicines in hospital," said another. These are basic human rights to which the people are entitled. Unfortunately the power struggle, and the political crisis it sparked, have led to the people suffering badly in many different ways.

The talks will not be easy as the bitterness and resentment runs deep on both sides.

The MDC says at least 120 of its supporters have been killed, about 5,000 abducted and 200,000 forced from their homes since the first round of the elections, in a campaign of violence by pro-Mugabe militias and the army.

Cabinet ministers and military officials have denied the charges.

Robert Mugabe on the other hand has made his feelings for Morgan Tsvangirai perfectly clear for many years now and it is plain that he would not be engaged in talks unless he felt he had no option but to do so.

Let us hope that the needs and rights of the people of Zimbabwe come before the feelings and power lust of both these men. The citizens of that nation have suffered for long enough.

"Compassion and love are mere luxuries. As the source of both inner and external peace, they are fundamental to the continued survival of our species."

Dalai Lama