We will no longer sit down with Zanu PF, says Tsvangirai

2009-10-16 12:37

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has suspended all association with Zanu PF – but has not pulled out of the Zimbabwe unity government, its leader has announced.

Leader of the former opposition MDC Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said his party would henceforth cease all government business until President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party started treating them as an equal partner.

He said if the current crisis could not be resolved quickly, the only solution would be to have fresh elections held under the supervision of the United Nations.

“It is now time for us to assert and take our position as the dominant party in this government. It is our right to disengage from any association with Zanu PF and from cabinet and Council of Ministers,” Tsvangirai told a news conference at his party’s Harvest House headquarters.

The indictment and jailing of Roy Bennett, a senior official of the MDC and Tsvangirai’s key ally, is the latest controversy, though Tsvangirai insisted the decision was not just to do with Bennett.

“This is not about Bennett. It is about the very essence on whether we have a serious partner or not. It is not about Bennett, although we all know that Bennett is not being prosecuted for crimes committed but is being persecuted for political reasons,” Tsvangirai said.

The MDC had come to this decision after convincing itself that Zanu PF was not prepared to fully implement and honour the Global Political Agreement, said Tsvangirai.

He said he had sacrificed his party’s and his own reputation by trying to convince the world that the inclusive government was working well and that his relationship with Mugabe was cordial.

“No one has fought in defence of this inclusive government more that I have done. I have sacrificed the reputation of my party and my own leadership in defence of this government.

“I did that for the interest of the people of Zimbabwe who want to see real change delivered.

“The arrest of Bennett has brought home the fiction of this government. It has brought home the self-evident fact that Zanu PF sees us as a junior and worthless partner,” Tsvangirai said.

The MDC leader said while his party had disengaged from government, it had not pulled out of government. His party would continue to hold cabinet and Council of Ministers meetings on its own while its legislators would continue to attend Parliament as usual.

Asked if his party was not playing into Zanu PF’s hands, given some public opinion that Mugabe had been trying to frustrate him out of the inclusive government, Tsvangirai said his party was aware of the implications of their action. Zanu PF could not run government its own, he said.

“We are not pulling out of government but we will not sit down with Zanu PF. We are defending the interests of our people and we know that Zanu PF can not run this government on their own either constitutionally or legally.”

Meanwhile the bail application for MDC national treasurer Bennett was due to be heard before Justice Charles Hungwe in the High Court in Harare this afternoon.

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