No To A War Election: Tsvangirai

Speaking at the Heal Zimbabwe Trust convention where victims of political violence where narrating their ordeal, Tsvangirai said no date had been set for the next election and that he would not participate in any election that is violent.

“I will not commit anyone to any election if it is a declaration of war,” Tsvangirai said.
“We must demonstrate to SADC (Southern African Development Community) and the AU (Africa Union) that we are capable of holding a legitimate and credible election.”

Tsvangirai said he was disturbed by the violence at the weekend constitutional meetings in both Bulawayo and Harare.

Piniel Denga, the Member of Parliament on Sunday said five people were injured when scores of Zanu (PF) supporters stoned people who were going for the constitution meeting.

The constitution meetings have been suspended indefinitely.

“The constitutional making process is not a political contest. There is no party which will say they have won the constitutional making process,” Tsvangirai said.

“In this journey there can be no short-cuts and no easy way to deal with the pain and suffering that has been experienced by so many of our people,” said Tsvangirai.

Just last week Tsvangirai was telling investors at an economic summit on Zimbabwe that the constitutional process was going on very well and even said he was expecting a new constitution in the first quarter of next year.

“I am disturbed by reports of violence during the current constitution making exercise. Reports of violence in Mbare and elsewhere throughout thee country are a negation of the new spirit we had begun to build in the country.”

In addition Tsvangirai said  political leaders must speak out strongly against violence and differentiate between a process to write up the country’s national constitution and that of their parties.
Touched by the testimonies of the about 200 victims of political violence drawn from all over the country, Tsvangirai pledged to make sure that a new Human Rights Commission Bill to be tabled in parliament soon will take care of the concerns of the victims.

Most of the victims comprising men, women and children had scars from the wounds of the violence sustained during the violence.

The Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation, which was put in place to deal with the aftermath of violence that has been part of the country’s electoral culture since 1980 has so far failed to bridge the gap among political parties.

“This needless violence is both a reminder of the dark past and a threat to a bright future. Either as a state agent or a political party activist, how does one disrupt an important national process such as Constitution-making process?”

“I am pleased that in the next session of parliament the enabling legislation for the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) will be tabled for review by your representatives.”

Tsvangirai said victims of the political violence should be compensated and be supported to rebuild their lives. About 500 people mostly MDC supporters were killed in the run up to the 2008 election run-off presidential poll, while thousand others were displaced in incidents that left the world shocked.