Gweru — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said President Robert Mugabe was planning to rig the July 31 elections with the help of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), but vowed never to go down without a fight.
Addressing a rally at Gweru’s Mkoba Stadium, Tsvangirai said the 89-year-old leader would avoid the use of violence as he seeks another term in office, but would still use ZEC to manipulate the polls.
“Violence tainted the legitimacy of Mugabe’s presidency in 2002 and 2008 in the eyes of the international community. He knows this, so now he wants a peaceful, but rigged election,” the MDC-T leader said.
“This will only happen if ZEC allows it. But we want to say we will protect the vote, the voter and the vote outcome from those who want to rig.”
Tsvangirai questioned why ZEC had printed eight million ballots when the country had six million registered voters alleging that this was probably another way of attempting to rig the polls.
“Our hearts are bleeding over the things that ZEC is doing. they failed to print adequate ballots for the police and the soldiers,” he said.
“They denied eligible Zimbabweans in the urban areas a right to vote by stalling the registration process and now they have printed eight million ballots when we have six million registered voters.”
Tsvangirai also challenged Mugabe and other presidential candidates to a live presidential debate on national television so that the people of Zimbabwe can judge who can take the country forward.
“I challenge Mugabe and other presidential candidates to a live TV debate so that the people can judge for themselves and see who has the will and capacity to take the people of Zimbabwe to a better future,” he said.
Tsvangirai blasted Mugabe for threatening to pull Zimbabwe out of Sadc and the African Union, describing the statements as foolish.
“He lost the 2008 elections, but was saved by Sadc,” the Prime Minister said. “Mugabe is a beneficiary of Sadc benevolence, but he still has the audacity to condemn that Sadc.
“We will not leave these institutions.
They are our homes . . . it’s a fool’s errand to try and pull out because you have quarrelled with others.” Mugabe made the threats after South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team noted that Zimbabwe was not ready for a credible election.