Grateful MDC chair thanks Britain for Zimbabwe support

Labour’s conference gave a standing ovation to Lovemore Moyo, the chairman of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), this afternoon.

Mr Moyo, addressing the conference in Manchester with prime minister Gordon Brown and foreign secretary David Miliband looking on, thanked Mr Brown for his “personal commitment” in the struggle against Zanu-PF.

“You spoke for us. We thank you for that,” he said, to applause.

“There can be no finer example of what Britain can do in the world than your support for democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe.”

A power-sharing deal reached last week between the MDC and Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF is being seen as a landmark moment in the country’s history.

Many fear Mr Mugabe will continue to oppress the MDC through campaigns of violence and intimidation, but Mr Moyo was upbeat.

“It is not easy to fight a dictatorship through democratic means. I dare to hope we have prevailed,” he added.

Mr Moyo was elected speaker of the Zimbabwean parliament in August and becomes the first non-member of Zanu-PF to hold the post since Zimbabwe’s independence since 1980.

“Zimbabwe’s struggle for freedom has been the story of my life,” he continued.

“We look to our friends and comrades around the world. to help us rebuild our institutions. Prime minister, your international leadership and support for democracy in Africa will always be celebrated. Thank you.”