Tsvangirai rallies to explain poll snub

via Tsvangirai rallies to explain poll snub – New Zimbabwe 23/04/2015

“I KNOW most of you are worried (about) why we (will) not participate in the by-elections (but)  we were not going to win as long as we do not have electoral reforms,” opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai told supporters in Harare Thursday.

He was speaking during the first stop of a nationwide campaign to explain why the MDC-T is boycotting by-elections scheduled for June 10, a decision said to have angered sections of the party’s leadership.

“We know Zanu PF and its attitude so we cannot go into an election whose results are predetermined,” Tsvangirai told the rally which was held in Glen View.

Tsvangirai’s party triggered the by-elections which are set to be held in 14 constituencies around the country including in the MDC-T strongholds of Bulawayo and Harare.

The MDC-T forced the vote after it recalled 21 rebel MPs who had crossed the floor to join the renewal project fronted by former party secretary general, Tendai Biti.

However, the country’s main opposition party then decided, not without serious divisions, to boycott the by-elections, meaning the seats will most likely be won by President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party.

Angst sits deep in the party over the decision which has also been mocked by the recalled MDC Renewal group which accuses Tsvangirai of conniving with Zanu PF to decimate opposition numbers in Parliament.

“The recall illustrates clearly the fact that MDC-T is now in connivance with Zanu PF to shortchange the people`s struggle for change and democracy,” said Renewal treasurer Elton Mangoma in a statement earlier this week.

“Why on earth would the MDC-T engineer and celebrate the reduction of opposition voices in parliament?

“Is it not curious that the MDC-T has decided not to contest those seats, after making them vacant, and allow them to be occupied by Zanu PF?”

However, Tsvangirai said his party would not participate in elections without key reforms to ensure an even contest and guarantee a credible vote.

“It would be foolish for us to participate in an election where the playing field is uneven,” he said Thursday.

Electoral reforms first

The MDC-T leader said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commision should consider going digital through the use of biometric voter registration to stop Zanu PF from rigging elections.

“This will help avoid multiple voting which Zanu PF has been using,” he said.

The former premier also attacked the recalled former MP for Glen View, Paul Madzore.

“Those who were recalled from parliament tasted their own medicine,” he said.

“How can you leave the people and be bought by Zanu PF? For all the sacrifices that many have made for the party only to leave it now,” he said.

Madzore is part of the group of senior party officials who left the MDC-T after failing to force Tsvangirai’s ouster following the 2013 elections won overwhelmingly by Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.

Tsvangirai refused to step down arguing he could not be blamed for the party’s disastrous performance in elections he maintains were rigged by Mugabe and Zanu PF.

His spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said the Glen View gathering marked the first of Tsvangirai’s ‘No Reforms, No Elections’ rallies.

“The decision not to participate in the fraud disguised as an election was made at our congress where we drew a line in the sand and said all reforms must be implemented before any election,” said Tamborinyoka.

“We will not participate in these by-elections and any other for that matter unless and until all these so-called elections are properly vaccinated from the periodic Zanu PF mischief which has led to contested and illegal outcomes.”

From Glen View, Tsvangirai is expected to tour all constituencies that will hold by-elections before he takes to Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo on Saturday.