PRIME MINISTER Morgan Tsvangirai has launched a stinging attack on his 89-year-old election rival, President Robert Mugabe, accusing him of being too frail to run the country.
By The Sunday Times
Tsvangirai (61) said in an interview it was unrealistic for Mugabe to continue for five more years and questioned whether he had the energy for the presidential election, due later this year.
It was reported last year that Mugabe was suffering from advanced prostate cancer, but Zanu PF party officials have denied this.
Asked about the President’s health, Tsvangirai said: “A dead man does not campaign. He’s there — but he’s old and frail.
“I think it’s very punishing for the Zimbabwe people to put forward a 90-year-old to run the country for another five years.”
And he questioned whether Mugabe’s health was up to such a rigorous campaign.
Last week, Mugabe, who has ruled for 33 years, used a presidential decree to set the election date.
Tsvangirai, a member of the power-sharing government and leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, called it “illegal”. “I have not been consulted so it is a violation,” he said.
The Constitution, approved this year, makes clear elections can be called only in consultation with opposition parties.
The MDC insists the poll should not take place until democratic reforms are implemented.
A source in Tsvangirai’s campaign team has said the party would boycott the election if it were held next month. Sadc has urged Mugabe to seek postponement of elections.
Tsvangirai said Mugabe’s rush to the polls was born out of “desperation”.
In the past two months, 300 000 new voters from Zanu PF’s rural heartlands have been added to the electoral register, while those from MDC strongholds in urban areas have been prevented from signing up.
“You can see the machinations already emerging,” he said. “We know there have been so many shenanigans and there have been so many irregularities that we believe there isn’t an instrument Zanu PF will not use.”
– The Sunday Times