Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Thursday categorically rejected any delay in holding a run-off presidential election. The MDC has called for an urgent meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to discuss the post-election impasse.
Meanwhile, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been in South Africa since the March 29 election, is expected to return to Zimbabwe this weekend. In another development, Zimbabwe police have reportedly banned an MDC rally scheduled for Sunday in Zimbabwe’s second largest city Bulawayo at which Tsvangirai was to launch his election run-off campaign.
In light of all this, MDC spokesman Nelson Chamissa told VOA from Harare,that supporters are looking forward to Tsvangirai’s return.
“What is clear is that once the president (Tsvangirai) has finished his program which has been undertaking in the region and also on the continent, then he will return back to Zimbabwe. In fact we are looking forward to the president coming this weekend, possibly Sunday, possibly Saturday. We don’t have the specific date yet, but we are expecting the president any time soon,” he said.
There had been hints from the Zimbabwe government that some MDC leaders might face treason charges upon their return for declaring Tsvangirai president.
Chamissa said the MDC is worried about the security of all opposition democratic activists and all Zimbabweans who he said do not support the Mugabe regime.
He said an MDC rally scheduled for Sunday in Zimbabwe’s second largest city Bulawayo at which Tsvangirai was to launch his election run-off campaign will go ahead as scheduled despite a reported police ban.
“We are told through the press, of course they did not write us, they intended to interfere with the rally. But the rally should be a celebration rally. We won election, we need to celebrate; we need to find ourselves congregating to reflect on the gains we have made and that is going to go ahead on Sunday in Bulawayo. We’re expecting thousands of thousands of supporters, party members to come there to express solidarity with the call for a new beginning, or a new Zimbabwe. And that is unstoppable,” he said.
Chamissa said the MDC categorically rejects the decision by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to delay the holding the run-off presidential election. But he would not say if MDC leader Tsavangirai would refuse to participate if the run-off is not held by May 23.
“What we are saying is that we are not going to allow this dictatorship any inch of space; we are not going to allow this dictatorship any room to maneuver. We want to make sure that we have Mugabe in the corner until there is a new beginning and a new Zimbabwe. The Gospel for a new beginning and new Zimbabwe has to be spread, and President Tsvangirai plays a critical role. Come the 20th of May and there is no election, we expect President Tsvangirai to be inaugurated as president. If they fail to do that, then they have to announce a date that is going to convince us that it is worth while to invest in people’s lives, people’s effort and time,” Chamissa said.
He confirmed the MDC has called for an urgent meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to discuss the post-election impasse.
"We want the region to help us help ourselves; we want the continent to help us also help ourselves, but in particular, the region, in a sense that Mugabe continues to play politics with the people of this country. So the only way to deal with is stubbornness is to have the region cracking a whip,” Chamissa said.