Zimbabwe collapsing: Tsvangirai

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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says politicking by Zanu PF was indicative of a country teetering on the brink of a major political crisis. He said Zimbabwe would slide into a scenario reminiscent of Ivory Coast if service chiefs failed to recognise any election winner other than President Robert Mugabe.

But Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday dismissed Tsvangirai’s sentiments.
“He doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is just talking to please his sponsors in the US. Elections will only come after proper mechanisms are put in place and we have been saying that as a party.”

Tsvangirai was speaking after meeting with civil rights leader Jesse Jackson in Chicago, United States, on Saturday.

“. . . due to unilateral and misguided election talk by President Mugabe without the necessary mechanisms for a free and fair poll as dictated by Sadc and the AU (African Union), the country is teetering on the brink of what could possibly become another serious political crisis,” he said.

“The expression by the people across the North of Africa represents and manifests a failure of leadership and the perennial desire by the people of Africa to send a clear message to their leaders that they deserve the same rights as everyone.”

He added: “When you have the head of police and a few leaders in the military publicly claiming that they will not respect the result of any election in which President Mugabe is not the winner, it means we could yet become another Ivory Coast.

“The people of Zimbabwe are once again on the frontline in the war for freedom and rights and the fledgling democracy that was to grow following the signing of the new transitional government in 2009 is under threat. The struggle unfolding in Zimbabwe is one that pits good over evil, right against wrong and freedom against tyranny.”

Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe’s main challenge was the refusal by State institutions to recognise the inclusive government and the failure to institute credible electoral, media and political reforms that will ensure a credible election.

“We even have a situation where (Zanu PF) thugs storm into Parliament and brutally attack elected MPs while the police watch. When you have a situation where the same secretariat of the electoral commission that failed to announce results for five weeks in 2008 is foisted on the supposedly new ZEC, it means we are likely to have yet another disputed poll,” he said.

The AU and Sadc are the guarantors of the inclusive government, Tsvangirai said and “we are encouraged by their desire to nurse this process so that we prevent another Kenya and another Ivory Coast.

“Our region will continue to be rocked by conflict and people will continue to flood the streets demanding freedoms if the world does not stand by us as we try to carve out a new architecture in which the rights and the will of the people are protected, respected and guaranteed.”

The MDC-T leader said another stolen election in Zimbabwe in which losers decide to pickpocket the people’s victory would threaten the country’s neighbours and put at risk their own political dispensation and progressive policies.

“Preventive measures must always be taken before a situation implodes and the world must assist Zimbabwe to ensure that we transit peacefully to a democracy and a legitimate government.”

President Mugabe and Zanu PF have insisted the country will go for elections before March next year. On the other hand, military chiefs, including Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, recently said they would not respect any leader without liberation war credentials.
The President has also defended the military and Zanu PF hardliners’ stance on elections.