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Tsvangirai looks beyond Mugabe

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OPPOSITION MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, yesterday gave the clearest hint yet that he is already looking beyond President Robert Mugabe following a meeting with the clergy and civic groups in Bulawayo.

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai
MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai

Tsvangirai said the MDC-T wanted to avoid the chaos that unfolded in The Gambia after that country’s former President, Yayha Jammeh, refused to step down following the former military ruler’s electoral loss to Adama Barrow on December 1.

“We were talking of a post-Mugabe transition, what form it will take if we are going to have a peaceful and stable transition. I wanted to hear various views and what we can do to ensure that transition takes place, and peacefully,” he told journalists after the closed-door meeting with the clergy and civic society leaders held at a local hotel.

Jammeh had to be forced into exile following threats of military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States, and Tsvangirai said the MDC-T wanted a peaceful and stable transition seemingly suggesting he will win next year’s presidential poll.

Amid growing talk of negotiations for a possible opposition coalition, Tsvangirai said the MDC-T was committed to a pre-election pact, but denied reports the opposition party had already hammered out an agreement on how parliamentary seats were going to be shared among parties to the alliance.

Reports suggested the MDC-T and Welshman Ncube’s MDC party were close to signing an agreement, amid speculation that the latter was going to be given leeway to field candidates in Matabeleland.

“There are reports going around saying there is a seat that has been given to so and so. There is no such thing. We haven’t discussed that, we haven’t even started the negotiations, so how can you start talking about distribution of seats?

“As far as we are concerned, there will be a pre-election alliance and a post-election agreement in the whole process,” Tsvangirai said.

The former trade union leader also waded into the emotive Gukurahundi storm, describing it as a burning issue along with tribalism and marginalisation.

“There was also the issue around the question of unresolved historical grievances, what are the expectations from the MDC-T to look at. In all my interactions, we have suggested how to put closure to these historical imbalances and people have suggested various ways, reparations to affected communities, devolution, truth and reconciliation commission, the issue of identity documents.

“There was also the burning issue of how do we build a society, which has ethnic and cultural diversity so that we begin to bridge the gap between various ethnic groups in this country,” Tsvangirai said.

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