In Zimbabwe, the spokesman for ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe says his group is open to working with rival parties to unite the country after the opposition rejected the results of last week’s general election.
“We must try and unite all Zimbabweans. The victory of ZANU-PF is a victory for everyone. Even the opposition must accept that this is a victory for everyone,” said ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo. “We must extend our hand of friendship of unity and solidarity to the people who have lost. We need to work together for Zimbabwe to develop.”
Gumbo’s comments came after the electoral commission declared Mugabe winner of the presidential vote with 61 percent of the vote, while his longtime rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai only garnered 34 percent of the total votes.
Mr. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party also won more than a two-thirds majority in parliament, which enables it to make changes to the constitution.
But Tsvangirai and his opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) rejected the polls as a “sham” and have vowed to legally challenge the results. Tsvangirai says his group will not join any of the government institutions following the election after the MDC threatened nationwide protests.
Both the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) poll observer groups declared the elections free and peaceful.
But, critics say SADC and the AU lacked the political will to reject Zimbabwe’s election, which the opposition dismissed as fraught with rigging and voter irregularities. They said it appears the two groups “washed their hands of” Zimbabwe following their assessment of the vote. Gumbo disagreed.
“If things were not as good as they were I‘m sure SADC would have come out to oppose whatever was done,” said Gumbo.
He said the opposition parties failed to convince Zimbabweans to vote for them.
“These people have to accept that their biggest problem was that they didn’t have a program to offer to the people. They were complacent,” said Gumbo. “As ZANU-PF, we went into the field quietly like old typical guerrilla fighters. We started restructuring the party from the bottom, while these people [opposition parties] were complaining or [creating their party] constitution, we were organizing the party, and that’s why we came up on top.”
Gumbo says the electoral victory gives ZANU-PF the mandate to implement its development policies without any interference.
“Now we are able to tackle our development programs without any hindrances, without any gyrations, and without any bickering from the opposition party. But, more importantly, we have now to implement those things that the masses wanted or what we promised them,” said Gumbo.
Gumbo called on Zimbabweans living abroad to invest in the country.
“We are challenging them to come to Zimbabwe [to] start new businesses under the indigenous empowerment program. They should go into the agricultural sector, the manufacturing sector and the ICT [Information and Communications Technology] sector,” Gumbo said.
Clottey interview with Rugare Gumbo, ZANU-PF spokesman