Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Saturday announced he would participate in the presidential run-off. Earlier the MDC had maintained it won the election outright and saw no need for a run-off. A date for the run-off has not yet been set by the electoral commissioner, but the MDC says it should take place before by may 23rd. – within three weeks of the declaration of the first round results.
Sydney Masamvu is a Zimbabwean analyst for the International Crisis Group. From his base in Pretoria he told VOA’s Akwei Thompson the MDC's earlier stand of rejecting the run-off was a “strategic move to put pressure for conditions to be leveled, and for international spotlight to focus on the conditions of the run-off…” He said, however, for those “who understand the nuances and the political dynamics involved in Zimbabwe, it was quite clear that Morgan Tsvangirai was actually under pressure to participate, in the sense that people are demanding change, and merely boycotting and handing over power to Mugabe on a silver platter” would have been unpalatable for the suffering people of Zimbabawe.