Tsvangirai agrees not to contest 2011 poll result

morgan_tsvangirai1Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (Pictured) has agreed not contest the result of the nest election, after he and Robert Mugabe agreed that the poll will be held next year.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai said over the weekend that the polls will be held next year. He said on Saturday that he had agreed with Mugabe that whoever loses (the next election) should make way for the winner. He was speaking at a ceremony to mark his MDC-T partys 11th anniversary and told supporters that he and Mugabe agreed to take advantage of the prevailing peace to hold elections.

When I last saw President Mugabe he said the prevailing peace was ideal for us to go for an election and this time we agreed that whoever loses should make way for the winner, Tsvangirai said.

Political commentator Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa on Monday that Mugabe and Tsvangirais agreement not to oppose the result will mean nothing to Mugabes loyal security forces. He said that the security forces will rip an agreement like this to shreds to ensure a result they want.

Tsvangirai has put the MDC in a difficult position because if ZANU PF once again rigs the election, then the MDC wont have room to contest it, Makumbe said. Tsvangirai has embarrassed himself.

Makumbe predicted that, politically, a 2011 poll will be a repeat of 2008, saying: The MDC will likely win an election once again and ZANU PF will once again refuse to accept the result.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa said on Monday that there is widespread fear that there will also be a repeat of the kind violence experienced during the 2008 vote. He said there was no peace in Zimbabwe, only fear of a violent backlash by ZANU PF during the 2011 poll. Muchemwa said the current exercise to gather public opinion for a new constitution has clearly shown that ZANU PF is preparing for polls. He said the party is preparing to take the next election by force.

There has been widespread intimidation of MDC supporters and even people have havent been intimidated are still afraid of violence if an election is called, Muchemwa said.

Muchemwa explained that people, particularly in the rural areas, are not prepared to have another election under violence. He explained that there are no mechanisms in place to protect the public against violence, and if ZANU PF can get away with open intimidation during the constitutional outreach process, then they know they can get away with another violent election.

There have been widespread reports of politically motivated violence against MDC supporters during the constitutional outreach exercise, with ZANU PF supporters and war vets leading harassment and intimidation campaigns. There are also clear signs that ZANU PF has begun electioneering, and there are reports of torture bases being set up ahead of polls. All this indicates that Mugabes party is gearing up for an election win by force, a win that Tsvangirai now says he will not contest.

An election next year was stipulated by the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which formed the basis of the current unity government. That coalition is meant to be paving the way for a peaceful election by writing a new constitution before the polls. The process of getting public opinion on a rewritten constitution has been under way, and has clearly shown that the country is not ready for a vote.

Mugabe meanwhile has ordered Finance Minister Tendai Biti to budget US$200 million for polls for next year, despite the chairman of the election commission, Simpson Mutambanengwe, saying there was not enough money for a 2011 poll. Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has also advised that a proper voters roll would take at least 18 to 24 months to prepare.

Post published in: Zimbabwe News

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