Zimbabwe's MDC denies conducting military camps in Botswana
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Monday denied allegations by President Robert Mugabe's regime that it trained youths in Botswana for armed insurrection, with help from the Botswana government.
The party was reacting to allegations by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, reported in the state-controlled Herald newspaper, that the government had evidence of "the recruitment and military training of youths (in Botswana) for the eventual destabilisation of the country (Zimbabwe) with a view to effecting illegal regime change."
Since its formation in 1999, despite its members being routinely harassed, arbitrarily detained and even tortured, the MDC has made non- violent resistance its core principle.
"Parties that participate in banditry are parties that do not believe in democracy," MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti told a press conference in Harare.
"We have refused to go to the fields with little guns on our shoulders. We seek to achieve democratic change through non-violent means," he said.
"The whole thing (the regime's allegations) is a dog's breakfast that one which my own dogs wouldn't touch," Biti declared.
The MDC had "no doubt" that Mugabe had come up with the "plot" in order to justify declaring a state of emergency, he said. "When Zanu-PF (Mugabe's party) is in a corner it thinks of violence," he said.
Botswana has also vigorously denied Harare's claims that it had "availed its territory, material and logistical support" to the MDC to conduct military training.
"Botswana has made its position very clear that it will never let its territory be used to launch attacks," foreign affairs spokesman Clifford Maribe told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.