News / Africa

Tsvangirai Says Early Elections Could Solve Zimbabwe's Political Problems

Ish Mafundikwa

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told VOA that early elections could be the only way to solve the country's political problems.

In an interview with VOA, Prime Minister Tsvangirai said talks about fully implementing the agreement that brought about Zimbabwe's unity government, set to resume Monday, are unlikely to resolve the outstanding issues.

"There is going to be a deadlock, and I have said to our party representative that let's finalize this, let's not procrastinate by saying we are going to have another meeting let's see what we have agreed and what we have not agreed," said Morgan Tsvangirai. "Therefore we are able to say to president Zuma and SADC that ZANU-PF is refusing to implement and therefore as far as we are concerned the only solution is that let's agree on a road map to an election."

Only last month the prime minister rejected a call by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma for elections next year.  Mr. Zuma is mandated by the Southern African Development Community - or SADC - with facilitating talks on the implementation of the so-called Global Political Agreement (GPA) which brought about Zimbabwe's power-sharing government. SADC is a guarantor of the deal along with the African Union and South Africa. South Africa is a member of SADC.

Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change has disputed the results of every election it has contested since 2000, citing widespread fraud, intimidation and violence.  He tells VOA the political and legal environment will have to change before any further poll is conducted in Zimbabwe.

"Absolutely not, we cannot go into an election under the same conditions it will not be an election it will be war as usual," he said. "Remove all the intimidation, all the violence we can undertake an election in this country and beat ZANU-PF. What we want is a new constitution, yes there have been some delays, but I think that the consultation will be in line for us to have a referendum by November or October. Then we can decide the date of election next year."

Mr. Tsvangirai says coalition governments are usually fragile but adds nearly a year from its formation the union is at its weakest.  He says this is likely a consequence of a recent statement by British Foreign Secretary David Milliband indicating the European Union would only lift sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and senior members of his ZANU-PF party on the advice of the MDC.

Mr. Tsvangirai says he does not influence British foreign policy so he cannot do anything about the sanctions which ZANU-PF says are inhibiting economic growth in Zimbabwe due to the country's inability to access international loans.

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