INTRODUCTION: Zimbabwe's Prime Minester Robert Mugabe has told supporters of his ruling party that it is their job, and not the task of the government, to transform the country into a one-party state.
GV Demonstrators marching along street and chanting. (2 SHOTS)
SV Placard held high calling for one-party state
SV Placard calling for release of youths from Salisbury police station.
GV PAN Crowd with clenched fists raised, singing.
SCU Placard calling for expulsion of UANC members.
SCU Two police officers watching demonstration.
SV Rally organiser leading crowd in chant.
SV Prime Minister Mugabe walks out to join organiser and addresses crowd. (3 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Zimbabwe's Prime Minester Robert Mugabe has told supporters of his ruling party that it is their job, and not the task of the government, to transform the country into a one-party state. Mr. Mugabe was addressing about 500 women supporters of his Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) during a demonstration in Salisbury on Thursday (18 June).
SYNOPSIS: The women had marched from Salisbury's black township of Mabvuku to the city centre, primarily to demonstrate their support for a one party administration. The level of hostility which has marked the relationship between Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) junior partner in the coalition, led by Mr. Joshua Nkomo, has subsided in recent months. And there already have been talks on the possibility of a merger.
The demonstration also called for the release of young people held a the city's police station and was a protest at alleged violence by supporters of the United African National Council (UANC) headed by former Premier, Bishop Abel Muzorewa. Neither the Patriotic Front Party nor the UANC took a single seat in local government elections last March, and support for them has diminished since then.
Zimbabwe's achievements after little more than a year of independence, following a seven year civil war, have been significant. But pressures are increasing for the government to move faster towards creating a socialist, egalitarian society.
Mr. Mugabe is known to be generally in favour of merging the parties into a powerful ruling bloc, rather than persevering with the present uneasy coalition. That, he says, would end a feud which has divided the county since 1963. Past bids have failed, partly because of deep tribal rivalries. The Zimbabwe leader told this group that he wished well to the one-party movement, but that is was their duty, rather than government's to bring the people to join ZANU-PF.