Madhuku tells Tsvangirai to accept the election defeat

NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly leader, Lovemore Madhuku, has urged outgoing premier Morgan Tsvangirai to concede defeat saying there was no justification for questioning the outcome of last Wednesday’s elections after “voluntarily participating” in the vote.

The MDC-T party says it will, this week, mount a legal challenge against the elections which extended President Robert Mugabe’s 33-year rule by another five years after he trounced Tsvangirai, winning 61 percent of the presidential vote against 34 percent for his rival.

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Tsvangirai has refused to accept the result, claiming Mugabe and his Zanu PF party carried out a “monumental fraud”.

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However, Madhuku told a press conference in Harare Monday that the MDC-T leader should concede defeat and help move the country “out of the permanent election mode it has been for several years now”.

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“It is the NCA’s firm view that the complaints raised against the 31 July 2013 poll by the losers do not raise anything new and cannot be used as a basis for rejecting the results of an election in which they participated voluntarily,” said Madhuku.

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“It is not desirable to encourage a state of affairs in our country where political parties participate in an election with only two scenarios: either they win or they dispute the result. Losing must always be one of the scenarios. In the circumstances for this particular election, the complaints must be taken into account for the next elections and for the reform agenda which remains very much incomplete.

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He added: “The NCA, on its part, is convinced that the votes cast on 31 July 2013 were the votes counted and announced. The NCA does not know the reasons for that pattern of voting. The essence of an electoral system based on a secret, one person one vote is that each of the voters can only be sure about the vote he or she has cast. Provided that the votes have been cast freely, the result is binding.

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“The way forward is to focus on moving the country forward while preparing for next elections. The interests of this country require that we all move forward focusing on building the economy of the country, deepening its democratic systems, promoting peace and unity and encouraging all of us to participate in the public affairs of our  country.”

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Observers from the African Union and the regional SADC grouping said the vote was “free and peaceful” but the local Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said the election was “seriously compromised”, claiming up to a million people prevented from voting.

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However, Madhuku, who has previously been dismissed by Mugabe as a one-man band, claimed that ZESN was just “one individual with a letterhead”.

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“I also read a statement (on elections) by organisations that only have a letterhead and one human being. You have a very good letterhead and you use that letterhead to just rush to say the elections are not credible and so forth,” he said.

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“These are the people that have cheated the losers. They do not leave Harare. They do not know what the framework of this country is like. They do not interact with people. It is not right to develop an attitude developing in many civil society organisations right now where they believe it is just a pen and putting it on internet and just proclaiming that they were not credible.”

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Regional powerhouse South Africa has since endorsed the elections, joined by Kenya, Namibia and Tanzania. Botswana however questioned the fairness of the vote and demanded an audit of the elections.

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Western countries, led by the US and the UK, have also condemned the elections with Australia calling for a re-run of the vote in a development that raises doubts about the possibility that sanctions, currently suspended, could be lifted.

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Madhuku said the position taken by the West suggests that they wanted a particular outcome.

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“The West is coming up with what had been said by the American Government, what has been said by the British Government and Australian Government. It is quite disturbing when you get those people saying they (elections) were not credible and they seem to be suggesting that they will not recognize the outcome,” he said.

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“The unfortunate effect of that is that it would appear that the West would then be seen as having wanted a particular result and that is unfortunate but we stand by our position as the NCA that the country must move forward.

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“We must put the election behind us; simply accept the result. Go back to the drawing board, re-organise for the next elections and let the country move forward. We want peace in this country. We should all be proud of the fact that we have not had violent elections.

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“The statement coming from the West may encourage people to start going out in streets and so on. The reason for going on streets must not be on the elections. It must be on other issues to do with bread and butter or to deepen our democracy.”