Tsvangirai pleads for international support ahead of elections

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, also the MDC mainstream party President, has urged the international community to support the democratisation process in Zimbabwe.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

Addressing participants to a United Nations University debate on Africa’s democratisation in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Tsvangirai said there was need for international players to help consummate a fragile transition process in Zimbabwe.

‘‘(It) would be remiss of me to leave this platform without seeking your support for the delicate transition process towards democracy that is taking place in Zimbabwe,’’ Tsvangirai said.

His MDC is part of a three-party coalition government formed in early 2009, after the 2008 Global Political Agreement providing a roadmap to a new and democratic political dispensation.

Zanu (PF), led by President Robert Mugabe, and a smaller MDC party led by Welshman Ncube, complete the Government of National Unity that all parties acknowledge is marred by discord.

The GPA was agreed on by the three parties in Sadc-brokered talks following a wave of politically motivated violence that resulted in the deaths of more than 300 people aligned to Tsvangirai’s party during a presidential run-off in June 2008.

Tsvangirai had beaten Mugabe in the first round but could not form a government because he did not garner enough votes to do so.

The GPA exhorts the parties to implement key electoral, media and political reforms that would create a conducive environment for the holding of a free and fair poll.

‘‘As we prepare for the next election, I urge all of you to support the call for a free and fair election in Zimbabwe in which the people's will is respected and protected. I urge all of you to be ambassadors of democracy, torch bearers for a peaceful environment in our country that will enable citizens to cast their vote without let or hindrance,’' he said.

He added: ‘‘I urge you all to support SADC and the regional effort in stabilising the situation in Zimbabwe so that the people in our country are allowed to choose their own government without violence and intimidation. I call upon every one of you to stand by us in this delicate moment, aware that we must all become global citizens ready to defend peace and democracy everywhere.’’

He described the fight for a democracy in this country as ‘‘an extra-ordinary struggle by ordinary people keen to create a new culture and a new country with new values’’ and hoped for a ‘‘new Zimbabwe with a legitimately elected government and in which the ordinary citizen will be free to pursue and live their dream’’.

The dates for the next general elections are yet to be announced.

Mugabe has been calling for the immediate holding of elections, but local and international pressure against that position seems to have prevailed, with 2013 increasingly becoming the likely year to conduct the polls.

Tsvangirai took a swipe at coalition governments in Africa, saying they shortchanged the electorate.

‘‘What we have seen in coalitions such as the one in my country, Zimbabwe, demonstrates a serious breach and betrayal of the will of the people because those who lost the election were brought back into government through the formation of undemocratic “inclusive”

governments. Inclusive governments that are exclusive to the people's will. They have become more of elite pacts than the true expression of the will of the people,’’ he said.

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