Defiant Mugabe says no to Tsvangirai

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe has declared that Zimbabwe will hold harmonised elections next year putting paid to any hopes that he would accede to demands by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who is pushing for presidential polls only in 2011.\r\n

The veteran leader told his supporters at the annual Zanu PF People’s Conference in Mutare that calls by the MDC leader for the presidential elections were nonsensical.

”We hear that MDC are dragging their feet on elections and are saying they want presidential elections alone. We damn that, it’s nonsense. Whatever elections we are going to have must be done together and we must do it harmoniously,” said Mugabe.

“We must have presidential, parliament and local government elections together. It must be a matter which needs a resolution at this conference.”

Mugabe was responding to the MDC national council announcement on Thursday which resolved to push for the Presidential elections in 2011 and defer the general poll to 2013 in line with the constitution.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the council (NEC) resolved that the next election should be solely for the disputed presidential election of 2008 with a harmonised election to be held in 2013 as prescribed by the constitution.

“Neither Zanu PF nor its President (Mugabe)  have the right of unilaterally calling for the aforesaid Presidential election and that article 23.1.b of the GPA and the 8th schedule of the constitution which requires agreement, should be respected,” Tsvangirai told the media on Thursday.

But a defiant Mugabe said the GPA, which expires in February, was nearing its end and could not therefore be used to determine the election time line.

”We agreed to have the GPA as a compromise it is not a permanent structure, so we must go for elections and not keep dragging our feet,” he said.

Mugabe warned his supporters to desist from violence during the election time, but told them to retaliate in attacked by opposition supporters, “but we must fight back if attacked, we must not fold our hands if we are provoked.”  

His statements received wild cheers from his thousands of supporters who are known for their violence which they often mete on opposition supporters.

Mugabe, for the first since 1980, lost an election in the March 29 voting but held the results for five weeks before announcing that Tsvangirai had won but fell short of an outright victory.

Zanu PF supporters went on a retributive campaign against perceived MDC supporters in the volatile provinces of Mashonaland East and Central in the run up to the Presidential run off.

From the resultant violence and intimidation, Tsvangirai withdrew from the poll leaving Mugabe to hold a one man election which was slammed by the international community.

SADC intervened by pushing a power sharing deal which brought the inclusive government which Mugabe wants to terminate by ending the GPA. – Daily News