Tsvangirai threatens to boycott Zimbabwe polls

2011-02-17 21:54

Harare - Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday threatened to boycott presidential and parliamentary elections if rival President Robert Mugabe called them for 2011.

Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, forced into a unity government with Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after a disputed election in 2008 that was marred by violence, is pushing for early elections this year.

"If Mugabe proceeds to announce an election without my agreement, that will be a unilateral action and we as MDC will not be party to that," Tsvangirai said.

Tsvangirai told visiting German business executives he expected a vote by September on a new constitution, one of the prerequisites for an election.

New constitution

"Once the constitution-making process is complete and a referendum is held, Mugabe and I will sit down as the main parties and decide on the election date," Tsvangirai said.

MDC officials say a vote this year could lead to a bloodbath and deal a heavy blow to an economy crushed by hyperinflation about two years ago.

"I do not see elections this year, probably early next year, because it's not just a question of holding elections, it is about creating the conditions for a free and fair election," Tsvangirai said.

The uneasy unity government has been credited with bringing stability back to the impoverished country, which has vast mineral deposits but has been shunned by the West for suspected human rights abuses by Mugabe and his party.

The MDC and Zanu-PF have traded blame for increasing violence in the past weeks apparently tied to Zanu-PF calls for elections this year.

Zanu-PF, which lost to the MDC in the 2008 parliamentary election, feels it is to its advantage to call an early election as the MDC is losing some popular support as it tries to settle internal disputes, analysts said.

Critics say early elections without political reforms, including a new constitution guaranteeing basic rights, would favour Mugabe and Zanu-PF, in power for more than 30 years.

  • - 2011-02-18 12:34

    Here we go again. Hopefully this aging kleptocrat, MUGabe, can be tossed onto the heap along with the others that are destroying Africa.

  • Bad Truth - 2011-02-18 17:11

    The law is the law Mr Tsvangirai, the date of the elections is announced by the president whether the opposition is ready or not!!!! Get that in your head. We know this drill Mr Prime Minister and this time when the date is announced I am travelling home to vote for Mugabe and there is nothing you can do about it!!!!

      John - 2011-02-18 20:02

      Well...then you are an absolute idiot.please stay there then.Why are you here, if mugabe is so great?

      ruezy - 2011-03-04 09:12

      Bad Truth, you're an idiot....

  • baabu - 2011-02-18 20:21

    MT is enjoying the GNU and doesn't want it to cum to end.

      ruezy - 2011-03-04 09:14

      @baabu, u idiot, can u read? get someone to explain the last sentence of the above article......then do some research on the GPA agreement before u give out your two cents.....

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