via MDC-T gears for 2018 polls – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 15, 2015
OPPOSITION leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party seems to have made a volte-face and now wants to partake in the 2018 general election, despite its congress resolution to boycott all elections until after implementation of key electoral reforms.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Probably stung by reports that former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s People First (PF) movement had hit the ground, setting up structures where it was also targeting disillusioned activists from across the divide, Tsvangirai seems to have abandoned his much-vaunted “No Reforms, No Election” stance adopted at the party’s national congress held in Harare in October last year.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu announced the party’s change of tack on his micro-blogging Twitter account on Sunday, giving the clearest hint that the opposition had realised that its poll boycott could lead it to political oblivion, after the Zanu PF administration refused to implement the demand for reforms.
“Zim opposition political parties can’t afford the luxury of missing the boat in 2018. That election is a watershed event,” Gutu posted.
But yesterday, Gutu said that the MDC-T had not dumped its poll boycott campaign, adding the envisaged electoral reforms would be in place in the next 12 months.
“Our ‘No Reforms, No Election’ resolution still stands. This is why the MDC is a very critical player in the project to force the Zanu PF regime to accept electoral reforms as clearly enunciated in the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) document,” Gutu said.
“The party will never, ever agree to participate in a sham election, an election that is neither free nor fair. We have learnt our lesson. Once bitten, twice shy. However, we have to make sure the reforms are pushed through and we offer alternative political leadership at polls.”
MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said Gutu’s comments were in line with the party policy.
“We are confident that we should get electoral reforms within 12 months. So as a party, we have not changed our position. The fact that we are demanding for reforms does not mean we should not prepare for the elections,” he said.
“He is right [Gutu]. We are preparing for the elections and our (presidential) candidate is Morgan Tsvangirai. We are going into these elections after getting electoral reforms.”
Tsvangirai was slammed at home and abroad for agreeing to take part in the 2013 election, even when he had been warned the poll “would be rigged by [President Robert] Mugabe”.
The former Premier has, this time around, demanded reform and warned he would not take part in any election “to legitimise Zanu PF thievery”.
The MDC-T has not taken part in by-elections since 2013, even “donating” its urban stronghold seats to Zanu PF, after recalling “dissident” MPs who walked away following a split in the aftermath of the humiliating loss.
This was despite the fact that three years after the adoption of the new Constitution and two years after winning an absolute majority, Mugabe has not given even the faintest hint that he will reform the country’s political minefield that opposition parties claim was skewed in his favour.
The MDC-T claimed the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has already given in to some of the opposition parties’ demands, by availing copies of the electronic voters’ roll for some constituencies.
Mujuru, sacked from both Zanu PF and government for plotting to topple Mugabe by foul means, has since been linked to the PF movement.
Reports showed her fledgling movement, that is yet to be officially launched, has been on the ground setting up structures by riding on the growing disillusionment within the opposition and Zanu PF ranks.
Mujuru was reportedly using Mashonaland East as her bastion and has in the process, decimated MDC-T structures hitherto unstable following the 2014 split with then secretary-general Tendai Biti.
PF is set to be officially launched early next year, senior party officials have said.
ZANU controls everything in Zim.
This means everyone else is a nonnenty.
Without removing ZANU from this control,then one is engaging in fruitless political gymnastics.
MDC T must not engage in “reed” behaviour! WIND DRIVEN BEHAVIOUR I MEAN!
It’s pointless to go for an election which u know it will be rigged & flawed , especially without proper reforms , Mr Tsvangirai doesn’t have vision, can he explain to people why is going to participate in an election without road map and reforms, can he tell us how are they going to tackle Zanu pf on vote rigging , how best are they going to get voter’s roll copy , they must not waste people’s time please