Tsvangirai pushes for poll coalition


Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said an agreement between political parties to speak with one voice against President Robert Mugabe’s push for elections without necessary reforms had set the tone for an electoral grand pact to fight the veteran ruler.

Report by Nduduzo Tshuma

Tsvangirai made the remarks at a meeting with civic society leaders in Bulawayo where he expressed hope that the country’s political leaders will put their differences aside and form a coalition against Zanu PF and Mugabe.

MDC-T, MDC, Zapu and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leaders on Wednesday met in Harare and agreed to take their fight against a Constitutional Court ruling that compelled Mugabe to call for elections before July 31, to Sadc. The parties fear the ruling would give the Zanu PF leader the leeway to push for elections before the necessary security sector, electoral and media reforms were put in place.

“Circumstances dictate behaviour and I’m sure that in our situation all progressives must unite to achieve the change that the people expect,” Tsvangirai said.

“Let’s set aside our personal interests and problems. Let us all unite.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to have this change and my party is committed to that. I am glad that the discussion among some of the key political parties has started, but it was only because of this Constitutional Court decision.
“I hope that we are able to move further than just discussing the Constitutional Court decision.

“But at least it sets the base that when people are determined to unite to achieve an objective they will do so if they put aside selfish motives and I think the spirit that characterised our meeting yesterday is a good start.”

The Prime Minister appealed to Zimbabweans to embrace the proposed electoral pact by political parties.

“If the people demand it, and by people I mean everyone making that demand, that please lead us, help us to cross the river, don’t let us down by trying to fight over nothing,” Tsvangirai said.

“After all if you achieve the goal you would have played your part in fulfilling the people’s expectations.
“I didn’t see any selfish motives among the leaders that we met yesterday. I think they are all objective men and women and hopefully that progressive thinking will actually take root.”

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai said the timing of the forthcoming elections was not just about dates, but conditions under which the polls will be held. He said there was lack of political will to implement the outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement.

“President Mugabe says he is going to comply with the ruling, yes, but is it practical if the (election) outcome is not going to be contestable? I don’t think it’s practical,” Tsvangirai said.

“But President Mugabe has an option. We have done it before, we have postponed by-elections three times going back to court saying we were not ready.

“We have got these excuses, and he can still use that opportunity to extend July 31 in order to make sure that we comply with the Constitution.”