Joining Coalition Government Was Painful – Tsvangirai

He said it was painful to take the decision to enter a coalition government after winning an election.

“…we did not enter this coalition freely. I could have easily said let them sort out their own mess but it was for the sake of the people,” said Tsvangirai, speaking in a special one-hour-long 30th Independence Day programme broadcast on Doha-based Al Jazeera news on Friday.

“We know we won an election and what then transpired was that there was a roll-out programme by the army to intimidate the voters on
behalf of Zanu (PF) and President Mugabe.”

Tsvangirai, won the March 2008 election, albeit with a margin not good enough for him to take over the reins of power and was forced to go into a second round with Mugabe. He later pulled out due to un-precedented violence on his supporters and party activists.

“For us it was declaration of war. We said no more we will not take part in that war,” said Tsvangirai who himself suffered several injuries during the election campaign period. 

According to the United Nations statistics on Zimbabwe 2008 electoral violence, 190 MDC supporters were killed while 5000 others were left nursing an assortment of serious injuries, with 10 000 others displaced from their homes.

Zanu (PF) although it admits that the gory electoral violence was carried out by its supporters, it still says it was an inter-party activity accusing MDC of also unleashing its supporters. However, it is a known fact that Zanu (PF) operated several torture bases where MDC
supporters were abducted and taken in for punishment.

Tsvangirai, said he did not make any political mistake by entering the unity government, although nothing much had changed in terms of the
politrical and human rights situation in the country. Several of Tsvangirai’s members of parliamentarians, political activists, journalists and human rights activists were still being harrased during the course of their duties.

“It was the right decision to take because the amount of violence was totally unprecedented. What’s the use of fighting for political power
when i’ts just a contestation of political power and not to seek the mandate of the people. It’s not worth the life of any Zimbabwean,”
said Tsvangirai.