You can rig and election but you can’t rig the economy: Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai, has challenged President Robert Mugabe to deliver on his election promises but warned his rival that resolving the country’s economic problems would prove a tougher ask compared to “rigging elections”.

Tsvangirai has refused to accept his defeat by Mugabe in the July 31 elections after he managed just 34 percent of the presidential vote compared to 61 percent the veteran Zanu PF leader.

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Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party also secured a landslide majority in Parliament which allows the party to change the country’s new constitution which was crafted following negotiations with the MDC parties.

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Tsvangirai however, dismissed the election as a monumental farce and accused his rival of rigging the vote.

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“If Mugabe really won the election, he should deliver what he promised to the people,” the MDC-T leader told a meeting of the party’s Manicaland provincial council in Mutare.

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“If he (Mugabe) succeeds, I will shake his hands and tell him that he really won the election. The truth of the matter is he can rig an election but he can’t rig the economy.”

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The MDC-T had filed a petition at the Constitutional Court challenging the presidential election results but has since withdrawn the case arguing there no hope for a fair hearing after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) refused to release information the party needed to support its allegations of massive electoral fraud.

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But Tsvangirai admitted that the MDC-T – which was part of a coalition government with Mugabe and Zanu PF over the last four years – could have done a better job of preventing the fraud it now alleges.

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“The election was lost … when the military took over election process from the civilians,” he said.

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“When voter registration was taken over from civilian, we should have known what it meant. When people’s names were recorded by traditional leaders, we should have known what it meant.”

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Western countries – which maintain sanctions against Zimbabwe – have said the elections were not credible but observers from the African Union and the regional SADC grouping passed the poll as peaceful and free.

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And in another blow for Tsvangirai, regional leaders endorsed Mugabe’s re-election during a SADC summit in Malawi over the weekend but the MDC-T leader said legitimacy comes from the people of Zimbabwe not regional and international organisations.

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“They can’t force us to accept defeat when we know that we won the election and they know it. We won this election; Mugabe knows it, Zanu PF knows it. The international community knows it. This was a massive fraud,” he said.

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“The biggest question is – what then is the way forward? What can we do as MDC? Interestingly, they (ZANU-PF) were already ready for us before we even reacted -(referring to police deployment everywhere).

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“Some of you are scared of how they will spend the next 5 years under Zanu PF leadership. Let me assure you that we will never betray the struggle of the people to have democracy; we are together till we win the fight. ZANU-PF can do all it wants but this time we won’t join them.”