MDC says no to dodgy by-elections

HARARE – Ex Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai late Friday declared his party would not take part in 14 by-elections set for June 10 or any other elections without poll reforms.

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Tsvangirai addressed a press briefing in the capital following a marathon meeting of his party’s national executive as well as national council.

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He said the party would abide by a congress resolution pronounced last October not to participate in new elections without reforms.

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There had been speculation that the MDC-T was considering overturning the congress resolution in order to take part in the snap poll following the expulsion of legislators aligned to a faction now going by the name MDC-Renewal.

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“We have considered the congress resolution regarding the recall of 21 MPs from parliament and council was very emphatic that the position taken in October that reforms must preceded any election in Zimbabwe has been vindicated by the stories coming from across the country regarding the few by-elections that have been held because they are also shambolic,” said Tsvangirai.

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Last month Tsvangirai’s party secretary general Douglas Mwonzora wrote the national assembly asking Speaker Jacob Mudenda to declare vacant 21 seats held by a faction of the opposition party lead by Sekai Holland and includes former Finance Minister Tendai Biti in its ranks.

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Holland’s MDC Renewal group has approached the Constitutional Court to overturn the ruling but President Robert Mugabe wasted no time in proclaiming June 10 as the date for by-elections in 14 of the vacant constituencies.

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Tsvangirai’s critics have accused the ex-premier of literally donating the 14 seats to the party’s main rival Zanu PF pilling pressure on the party to begin to rethink its October resolution.

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However, Tsvangirai the MDC-T national council had been unanimous in its resolution.

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“Council was unanimous that we will uphold the congress resolution that, as MDC, it will be futile to take part in the by-elections or any other elections for that matter until those reforms are achieved.

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“We believe that the position is in line with our constitution,” he said.

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Quizzed on whether the decision meant boycotting the 2018 general elections, Tsvangirai retorted: “We are not in 2018.

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“But I can tell you there will be reforms whether Mugabe wants or not. By the time we get to that we would have reformed the country’s electoral laws.”