The MDC-T is readying itself for a “smooth transfer of power” after launching a blueprint spelling out its minimum requirements for sustainable elections in Harare last week.
Party national chairperson Lovemore Moyo said the document came about after the former opposition MDC-T realised there was no mechanism to ensure a smooth transfer of power after an election.
“Because of the inability to assume power in 2008, this booklet is a programme on how power can be transferred smoothly if MDC-T wins the forthcoming elections. It speaks of non- violent elections and protects the security or integrity of the vote,” Moyo said at the launch.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai said winning an election was different from winning power.
Tsvangirai last Thursday said although he won the disputed 2008 presidential election, he could not take over from President Robert Mugabe because of the violence that broke out during and after the elections.
“Today, we want to debunk the notion that the MDC-T has a violent strategy to assume power. We are ready for any election, but we will not participate in warfare,” Tsvangirai said.
He accused the country’s security chiefs of illegally wielding a de facto veto over Zimbabwe’s troubled transformation process.
The service chiefs have declared they will not accept anyone without liberation war credentials to rule the country even if they won an election, which the former ruling Zanu PF insists should be held this year.
“We have instead been told by a few individuals at the helm of these sectors that anyone other than President Mugabe, even if they win an election, will not be able to take up their mandate,” the MDC-T leader said.
“They have even gone further to dismiss the significance of an electoral process by saying they will not tolerate a new regime in Harare ushered in through the ballot because President Mugabe cannot be removed by a ‘mere pen which costs less than five cents’.”
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Zimbabwe Prison Service Commander Major-General Paradzai Zimondi and Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba have voiced their support for Mugabe indicating they will not salute anyone without liberation war credentials.
Mugabe is demanding polls this year to replace the troubled inclusive government which he formed with the two MDCs claiming the arrangement was “no longer workable”.
But Tsvangirai — who won the first round of the presidential plebiscite in 2008 before pulling out of a runoff citing violent attacks on his supporters — insists reforms agreed under the coalition agreement must be fully implemented to ensure a free and fair election.
Tsvangirai said the threat by pro-Mugabe service chiefs made implementation of such reforms even more urgent.
“The security of the person (who wins the elections), the security of the vote and the security of the people need to be guaranteed before we even start to cast our ballots,” he said.
The Premier was encouraged by the tacit Sadc backing of his position, saying: “We are heartened that the Sadc region continues to restate the importance of key reforms ahead of the conduct of the next polls.”
Addressing the same meeting MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti said: “This booklet will ensure that the rule of law is applied and that elections are process-driven. It also speaks on major amendments on electoral reforms, the nature and character of voters’ roll, announcement of election results, staff of the electoral secretariat and the role of the police at polling stations.”
Biti also said there was need for an audit of the whole electoral process and speedy resolution on election disputes, adding “till now the 2002 presidential election disputes are still outstanding and perpetrators of the 2008 election violence are still walking scot-free”.
Mugabe — who turned 88 last month — and his party hardliners have accused their rivals of frustrating constitutional reforms in a bid to delay elections.