Tsvangirai: Fresh polls needed

2010-02-12 20:55

Harare - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party on Friday called for fresh elections if the current logjam in talks between rival factions of the frayed power-sharing government persisted.

"In our view it's a deadlock. We realise there is disenchantment among the people. The people would want to see finality to these issues. If the deadlock persists then our trajectory is to have free and fair elections," Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told journalists in Harare.

"Zanu-PF are trying to employ the tool of delaying so that we continue to talk about talks until Christmas. We need to put a full-stop to negotiations," Chamisa said, referring to veteran President Robert Mugabe's party.

Tsvangirai's MDC and President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF are feuding over Mugabe's unilateral appointments of the attorney general and central bank governor.

Another contentious issue is Mugabe's refusal to swear in Roy Bennett, Tsvangirai's pick for deputy agriculture minister, who is being prosecuted for treason.

Since its formation a year ago, Zimbabwe's unity government has been bogged down in squabbling over the allocation of key government posts, farm invasions, political violence and sanctions imposed on Mugabe and members of his Zanu-PF party elite.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leader of an MDC splinter group, formed the power-sharing government last year to try to mend the country's inflation-ravaged economy and ease tensions after a bloody presidential election that saw Tsvangirai withdraw from a run-off against Mugabe.

Tsvangirai had cited violence against his supporters as a reason for pulling out.

South African mediators have been holding talks to resolve the issues hampering the government's work.

Chamisa said fresh elections should come when the conditions are made right by a new constitution. He also called for strict media regulations to be relaxed and for changes to the electoral laws.