Generals in Catch 22: Tsvangirai

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday told party supporters in Chitungwiza that army generals did not want President Robert Mugabe to step down because they do not support his likely successor, Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

REPORT BY JOHN NYASHANU

Tsvangirai told the rally at Chibuku Stadium that the 89-year-old Mugabe was “no longer his own man” and vowed to trounce him in Wednesday’s elections.

“Mugabe is no longer his own man. He is now a puppet of the military and he knows what I am talking about,” the MDC-T leader said.

“They (the military) are saying they won’t back Mujuru and at the same time they will not support me since I am from MDC.

“They want to subvert the will of the people, but let me tell them that no one will stand in the way of the people.”

Tsvangirai also claimed that Mugabe initially did not want to take part in the 2008 presidential run-off elections after he was beaten in the first round, but was forced to soldier on by the generals. Mugabe received massive backing from the security forces ahead of the controversial run-off that was rejected by the international community as a sham election.

Tsvangirai was forced to pull out of the race after several of his supporters were killed in political violence and thousands others were displaced. Yesterday, the former trade union leader accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of plotting to have all ballot papers counted at the provincial command centres in contravention of the Electoral Act.

“We understand ZEC now wants to take uncounted ballot papers to a different station,” Tsvangirai said.

“This will not be tolerated and we will contest it,” he said, adding that he had since given the electoral body up to today to prove that it would be impartial during the elections.

“Up until now, I don’t even have the voters’ roll to be used on Wednesday,” Tsvangirai said.

“I will brief all observers on this. They (ZEC) must come out in the open and tell us if they do not have powers vested in them.

“We are tired of having our voices muzzled by people we have put in office.”

The ZEC secretariat has come under the spotlight with parties opposed to Zanu PF accusing it of being dominated by State security agents.

Tsvangirai also accused Zanu PF of lack of transparency saying he was shocked to hear that Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa had made available $96 million for elections. He said the Finance ministry did not know where the money had come from.
Meanwhile, police yesterday arrested Morgen Komichi, Tsvangirai’s chief election agent, over allegations that a ballot paper used during the special voting exercise was found in a dustbin in Harare.

MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa told journalists that the Transport deputy minister was arrested after he handed over a ballot paper to ZEC which had been found in a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre.

“The police are not in denial that the ballot paper is genuine, but they want to know from our deputy chairperson who the whistleblower is,” he said.

“We believe that it is not Senator Komichi, but ZEC which has questions to answer. For us these developments witnessed demonstrate the (questionable) integrity of Zanu PF. Zanu PF wants to undermine the will of the people. Zanu PF knows that it is going to lose this election and that is why they are attempting to rig it.”

ZEC had said it referred the case to the police after Komichi failed to explain how he came across the ballot.

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