PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says he will accept defeat if elections are held in a conducive environment that allows free and fair polls.
In an interview with the Zambian Post newspaper, Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe would be ready for elections this year, but there were a number of reforms that were necessary before that election could be conducted in terms of the agreed steps. He said there were legal and political reforms necessary before holding the elections.
“Well, look, if the standards are the same, if the standards are acceptable to all of us, why should I dispute the outcome? But all I’m saying is that I’m not going to play doublespeak. If I don’t win, then I don’t accept, if I lose, I don’t accept. No! No! No! We don’t want doublespeak,” said Tsvangirai.
“We want standards to be acceptable to all parties that everyone is given a fair chance. That the people of Zimbabwe are given the right to choose. Then the outcome should not be disputed. We don’t want a disputed outcome like we did in 2008. And we don’t want this business of the losers to come through the backdoor in order to be accommodated. No!”
He said there was need for a one-month voter registration period, followed by another month of voter inspection.
“Then you need another 45 days’ notice. Whether that notice proclamation of date of election will be done concurrently with these exercises is another matter. But as far as we are concerned, those are the legal steps. However, there are political reforms that are necessary that we agreed before and are necessary.”
Tsvangirai said the forthcoming Sadc summit was convened to assess the preparedness of Zimbabwe to meet elections conditions.
“It is something that we have talked about to Sadc leaders and they all agree that there is need for that summit to take place in order to have that evaluation. The question of funding will be part of that discussion, but we already have an offer from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Why are we not accepting that offer? Why are we putting preconditions to people who are offering us help? So as far as my party is concerned, we should accept UNDP funding. It is an international United Nations body. Why should we shun that?”