Political leaders take pop shots at "big baby" Mugabe

HARARE – Several political leaders in Zimbabwe on Sunday said they were taken aback by President Robert Mugabe’s threats that the country would go ahead with its planned elections despite advice by Sadc to defer the polls until a universally-accepted roadmap was adopted.

President Mugabe on Friday told his party’s central committee there was no going back on elections and told Sadc to back off.

This came hard on the heels of a Sadc Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation summit in Zambia which warned against early polls in Zimbabwe. But upon his return to Zimbabwe, President Mugabe told his party:

“Any organisation, body or group of persons that is established by the Troika or Sadc should not prescribe to us what to do,” he said.

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa, whose party has borne the brunt of Zanu PF’s violence in the previous elections, said they would not participate in hurriedly-organised polls.

“We want to advise our colleagues in Zanu PF to ponder the morning after, the morning after a sham election. We will not allow them to eat their cake and still have it. We will not allow them to have a one-man-band election,” he said.

“A national election is supposed to have the consent of all the other political parties and the superintendent participation of Sadc as observer and guarantor. We cannot have a market show in guise of having an election. We want a credible and free and fair election,” said Chamisa.

MDC president Welshman Ncube said: “What is clear is that Zanu PF didn’t expect the hard position taken by the Troika and they were shocked. Even (President) Mugabe was shocked at the meeting and couldn’t bring himself to terms with it.

“What is happening is a bravado reaction to try and energise the party (Zanu PF). Zanu PF knows that if Mugabe loses the protection of Sadc, he is finished. I have no doubt that he will not dare (force elections),” he said.  

Zapu spokesperson Methuseli Moyo described the threats as ill-advised, saying the country’s political situation was still volatile.

“Zapu is disturbed by President Mugabe’s resolve to disregard advice from everyone, including Sadc and the AU, not hold elections this year,” said Moyo.

“The President wants to use his incumbency to enforce his own or his party’s programme on all of us. That is called dictatorship. Dictators are fast becoming endangered in the world, including Africa. We want to warn Mugabe that his attitude will backfire spectacularly for him and Zanu PF at the elections, if not before. Zapu, and indeed other political parties, want to defeat Mugabe and Zanu PF in a free and fair, and not bloody election. The current conditions will make that impossible,” he said. – NewsDay