Tsvangirai challenges Mugabe to new election

GWERU, – Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Sunday his party would rather withdraw from power-sharing talks than sign an unsatisfactory deal and challenged President Robert Mugabe to call a new poll.

"We are saying to him you can call another election under international supervision and let’s see who is going to win that race," he told a rally to celebrate his Movement for Democratic Change’s MDC) ninth anniversary.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in a March 29 election but fell short of enough votes to avoid a June run-off, which was won by Mugabe unopposed after Tsvangirai pulled out, citing violence and intimidation against his supporters.

"We would rather have no deal than a bad deal," Tsvangirai told his supporters.

The post-election talks are deadlocked over how to share executive power between old foes Mugabe and Tsvangirai, putting off any chance of rescuing Zimbabwe from its economic collapse.

Mugabe has said he would form a cabinet with or without Tsvangirai.

The MDC leader told the rally in the city of Gweru in central Zimbabwe that there would be no powersharing deal until Mugabe ceded more power to the opposition.

"The issue that we are facing here is that Mugabe must accept to surrender some of his powers for the powersharing arrangement to work. If that doesn’t happen there is no deal," he said. He was speaking in both English and the local Shona language.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Sunday he would not change his possition in power-sharing negotiations if pressured by South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating.

 

"President Mbeki is coming but don’t worry about him. He is not the one who is going to sign the agreement. He is going to have to persuade me to shift my position. But don’t worry. One thing I will not do is to sell you out," he told a rally marking the ninth anniversary of his party.

 "The issue that we are facing here is that Mugabe must accept to surrender some of his powers for the power-sharing arrangement to work. If that doesn’t happen there is no deal," he told a rally to celebrate the MDC’s ninth anniversary in the city of Gweru in central Zimbabwe. He was speaking in both English and the local Shona language. Reuters