President Robert Mugabe yesterday declared elections would be held next year whether the two MDC formations liked it or not.
Report by Moses Matenga , Staff Reporter
The move is likely to put him on a collision course with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and other contesting parties, who argue that the playing field is not conducive for a free and fair poll.
Addressing the Zanu PF central committee yesterday, Mugabe said: “We told them (Sadc-appointed facilitators) that we are ready for elections, but the other parties said they are not. I don’t know whether they need a caterpillar to level the ground they say is not level. What is important is that the people vote without pressure and on our side we will ensure that there is no pressure as we go for elections. Those who don’t want elections will not be forced.
“There are people who think that they are important, we will proceed to hold elections in March and those who don’t want can give reasons they want, but elections will go ahead. In our party, let’s now begin to gear ourselves for the exercise and put ourselves into election gear. We want to work with people on their grievances.”
On the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference, Mugabe said principals to the Global Political Agreement were committed to the success of the conference pencilled for October 21 to 23.
“It shouldn’t be an event for arguments. It should be a forum to adjust the draft and reconcile with what the people said during the outreach programme,” he said.
He said stakeholders would read the draft, chapter by chapter, until they were satisfied that it captured what the people said.
Mugabe said his party had the greatest opportunity to beat the MDC-T whose image, he said, had been tainted by reports of corruption among its leadership.
“If ever there was an election where we have tonnes and tonnes of grievances created by the MDC, it is this election. If we fail to make use of what is a God-given election victory — which is on a golden platter — then we will be exposed from top to bottom,” he said.
Mugabe said the elected MDC-T officials were given an opportunity at the local and national level to prove themselves, but had failed to take advantage.
“Corruption is the order of the day. Do they want people to die, diseases to erupt, students to stop going to school and expect to get into that position tomorrow? We will say we are rotten (if we fail to take advantage of this MDC weakness).”