2nd or 3rd term for Tsvangirai?

morgan__pmHARARE - Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) is quick to say being MDC president is not an easy job, but that is not enough to stop him seeking an unprecedented third term at his party congress that opens in Bulawayo on April 28. And no potential challengers have signalling an interest in running.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa says Tsvangirai plans on running, but staunchly denies its a third term.

“We were disturbed by the issue of the split in 2006,” he said. “We do not have second term or third term and we are not using that split to our advantage. There is no technicality, it doesnt exist.

The law restricting the president and other elected party officials to two terms has been endorsed twice by voters, at the 2004 congress and the 2006 congress that happened after the split.

Tsvangirai, a social democrat, was first elected in 1999 as MDC president at the founding congress in Chitungwiza. He is credited with handing President Robert Mugabe his first ever electoral defeat in 31 years ago.

Tsvangirai has already secured a ringing endorsement from his party’s 12 provinces that will complete internal elections this weekend.

It was suspected organising secretary Elias Mudzuri, a Harvard scholar, might make an entry into the one-man presidential race. Party sources say Mudzuri, who was fired by Tsvangirai from his GNU Cabinet last year, has been a frequent, private critic of the administration.

But Mudzuri denies rumours that he plans to run for MDC president, and could be left out in the cold amid reports that Chamisa is eyeing his post. Sources say there is a systematic effort to sideline him.

Questions have been raised about MDC-T promoting a leadership whose stay is prolonged – to the detriment of the tenants of democracy as they claim to uphold.

A top party official called Tsvangirai’s move to seek a third term an insult to the democratic process. This is a decision for the people, he said.

But to many Tsvangirai is nothing short of a hero. The man stands up to a repressive Zanu (PF) party and its ubiquitous security machine. He denounces corruption, defends workers’ interests and rights, and lobbies for the movement to reform the Constitution. For his troubles he is bashed.

He is not campaigning for re-election. The MDC says he must finish the job of ending Mugabe’s rule. He has traversed the whole of SADC ahead of the crucial meeting in Windhoek that will chart an election roadmap expected to be the final nail in Mugabes coffin.

Exhausted and hoarse at the end of the day, he told The Zimbabwean : “We are still committed to fighting the elections on political discourse, not violence. As long as we have the people’s confidence, we go on.”

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