Speaking at the launch of a book: Conditions for Sustainable Election in Zimbabwe, on Thursday night, MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said the book captures the conditions that have been agreed by the three parties in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
The MDC president said “We need a situation where the security of the vote and the security of the people’s will are all guaranteed before we even start to cast our ballot. As a party, our participation in the election will largely depend on the implementation of the reforms as set by GPA.”
“So as we launch this document, we are guided by the cries of death that we heard from all those victims of violence in 2008. We have in our minds those who were abducted, including our parents and relatives who lost homes and who to this day bear visible scars of that violent election,” added Tsvangirai.
The Prime Minister said as a party they will not allow the violence of 2008 to happen again in Zimbabwe.
“We still have in our minds all those who were murdered through Operation Mavhotera Papi; that shameful vengeful campaign in which many were butchered and maimed for simply voting for change. We will not allow that to happen again,” he said.
The Secretary General of the party and Finance Minister Tendai Biti presented in brief the conditions that are captured in the book which are supposed to be implemented before elections.
“We are saying let’s implement the Global Political Agreement. The GPA has 24 articles out of those 24 articles…of them are dedicated to creating an environment for free and fair election,” Biti said.
The Secretary General said, “Let’s implement what we are calling the Post Maputo Agreement, 29 issues were put on the table and out of those 29 negotiators agreed on 21 issues, and then agreed on another three to make them 24 there must be implementation of those 24 issues.”
The conditions also include SADC Resolutions that have not been implemented. The Section B of the book also entails the integrity of the vote or the security of the vote.
The section largely deals with technical issues that must be dealt before elections are held. The constitution and the referendum must be concluded and referendum must be held.
Legislative reforms of certain laws such as Public Order Security Act (POSA), Access to Information Privacy and Protection Act (AIPPA) and Criminal law and codification Act especially section 121 and media reforms are also paramount.
Biti said issues to do with the voter’s role and provisions of the announcement of elections “that is who makes an announcement and when?” should be clarified.
Earlier on Wednesday night, Biti had lashed out at Mugabe for his reluctance to step down despite his advanced age.
President Mugabe, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, turned 88 last month and vowed to stay in power saying his party Zanu (PF) would choose his successor at the right time, but he had no intention of stepping down for now.
Speaking on an interparty public debate organised by New Zimbabwe Lecture Series Biti said, “We celebrated the birthday of the president… 88 years of age. How do we as serious Zimbabweans say we want to take our country seriously when we are going to invest in an 88 year old man how do we do that?”
He added, “I was watching Cde Mandela two weeks ago…he is only four years older than Cde Mugabe, Cde Mandela is in a wheel chair that’s where Cde Mugabe must be in a wheel chair.”
The Finance Minister said everyone needs reform including Zanu (PF) cabinet ministers.
Biti said “Reform is not an MDC agenda, reform is an agenda of the people of Zimbabwe including Zanu PF l know it l speak to cabinet ministers they don’t want a leader who goes on and on and on they tell me.”
The Secretary General for MDC-T vowed that they are not going to allow Zanu (PF) to abuse people like what it has done in the past 31 years adding that “there will be a constitution whether Zanu (PF) want it or not.”
Political commentator Ibbo Mandaza who was also graced the event said the priority of Zimbabwe is not elections but restoration of the economy.
Zanu PF sympathiser Goodson Nguni said Zanu (PF) is going to pull out of the GNU and go ahead with the elections. “Like the president has said we will have elections this year,” Nguni said.
Silver Bhebhe, the spokesperson for Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD), concurred with Biti that elections should be held after reforms while aspiring independent president Raymond Chamba said elections should be held this year.
Tsvangirai and Mugabe formed a power-sharing government in 2009 to mend an inflation-ravaged economy and avoid a political melt-down after a bloody presidential run-off election that left more than 200 Tsvangirai supporters dead.
Mugabe has repeatedly pushed for elections this year, but the constitution-drafting commission says a referendum on the charter could not be held before August — meaning elections are unlikely this year.