Tsvangirai sets benchmarks for elections

HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says his MDC party will only participate in an election if there are clear benchmarks and timelines that will lead to a free and fair election whose results will be credible.\r\n

Speaking at a Mass Public Opinion Lecture series in Harare on Tuesday night, Tsvangirai  said the Movement for Democratic Change party will only consider participating in an election once there is a credible electoral body with a non-partisan secretariat, a non-partisan state media, security sector reforms and a referendum to a new constitution.

“I want tell you today, that executive authority in this country is shared and the President has no power to announce an election date without consulting the Prime Minister. We have to agree on a date, having satisfied ourselves  of  the existence of electoral conditions that will not produce another contested outcome,” Tsvangirai said.

“Only when we have achieved the necessary conditions for a free, fair, credible and legitimate election will the MDC consider giving its blessing and participation in such a poll.”

Tsvangirai, himself a victim of Zanu PF violence, condemned  the recent violence  that swept across the country and said the deployment of soldiers and Zanu PF youths to cause violence in different parts of the country was being done either from the orders of Mugabe, who is the Commander in chief of the security institutions or through a third force which does not have government authority.

He said the people’s power will triumph as experienced in north Africa where  the masses staged demonstrations to remove  the autocratic regimes of Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt from power.

“They (security institutions) have shown no paradigm shift and have deliberately defied the civilian authority in the country, even those that are under the direct control of the Commander-In-Chief.  Either the Commander-In-Chief is aware of this or there is now a third force that has assumed control in this country without the mandate of the people,” Tsvangirai said.

Tsvangirai blamed the public media for spreading hate speech which has become a threat to national security  and warned that  ordinary people will judge the state media for its actions.

“The public media have themselves become a threat to national security by promoting hate, division and even genocide,” he said.

“For too long we have tried to accommodate the arrogant attitude of Zanu PF within this administration. That is not our job. It is the people who will ultimately judge them for their attitude and actions.”

The premier said his party remains with the mandate from the people to deliver change in the country as they won the 2008 elections. He blamed Mugabe’s Zanu PF for throwing spanners in the works to bring total change in the country.

“As the victors of the 2008 elections, we have a mandate from the people that we are determined to fulfil, either with the assistance of our partners in government or despite their resistance,” Tsvangirai said.

He said Zanu PF has been ‘stubborn’ in resisting audits and investigations to expose corruption and mismanagement in government giving an example of the recent audit of the public service workers.

“Rather than investigating the findings of the recent Public Service Audit, they are condemning the terms of reference – because it has exposed their abuse of the Public Service – the ghost workers that prevent us from increasing the civil servants’ salaries – the six thousand employees contracted on one day by one ministry after the March 2008 elections – and the many other instances of patronage and corruption exposed by the audit,” Tsvangirai said.

Tsvangirai highlighted achievements that the unity government has made since its formation which include economic stabilization with the country registering an 8,1 percent growth last year. He said several projects that include dam construction were allocated funding in the 2011 budget.

Over 13 million textbooks were  also  distributed to 5575 schools across the country last year in a joint government and donor project, Tsvangirai said. – Daily News