Tsvangirai confirms 2018 poll participation

MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai says his party will participate in the 2018 elections and will use the period leading to the watershed polls to push for electoral reforms.

Will contest 2018 polls ... Morgan Tsvangirai

Will contest 2018 polls … Morgan Tsvangirai

Tsvangirai also dispelled rumours that his party was against a grand coalition of opposition political parties, saying they are open to the idea but a coalition will not succeed without electoral reforms in place.

“We have not closed our door and neither have we refused to engage with others; it is a process,” Tsvangirai told journalists in Bulawayo on Friday.

“I am sure that by the time we come to 2018, a possibility of a coalition will be there but let it be underlined here, it is not a question of bringing together parties, we can as well have 20 parties and those parties will still face the same electoral environment, they will be defeated.”

Tsvangirai said opposition parties have to fight for conditions that will enable free and fair elections.

“We have to fight for conditions and those conditions will ensure that whatever coalition is built, victory is possible,” said Tsvangirai.

The former Prime Minister said that previous attempts at building coalitions failed as some fellow opposition party leaders were focusing on positions instead of looking at the conditions prevailing on the ground.

“There are people who are putting positions first before conditions; that again will mean that it will be dead in water.

“If you start talking about positions, then you are actually undermining the process of ensuring that people can work together and achieve the objective that we are all looking for,” he said.

He added: “The MDC will not stand in the way of any coalition discussions; we will definitely encourage it that is why we talk about the big tent. We are looking for possibilities for change and if a coalition is the answer, we will go for that.”

Asked on whether a grand coalition could be the antidote to voter apathy that has been experienced in the past elections, Tsvangirai said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must continue to register more voters and those in the Diaspora must be allowed to vote.

“We have to start by ensuring that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission registers all Zimbabweans that have an interest to vote.

“Secondly, there has to be a mechanism for a Diaspora vote. Diaspora vote constitutes almost 20 percent or even 30 percent of potential voters in this country.

“Let’s have a clean voter`s roll, let us ensure that people in the Diaspora are allowed to vote and that we don’t disenfranchise or displace voters,” said Tsvangirai.

The MDC-T and other opposition political parties have been boycotting by-elections claiming the electoral playing field was skewed in favour of the ruling Zanu PF party.

The decision to take part in the 2018 national polls would be a departure from their current stance.

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