Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has described a government purchase of 600,000 tons of maize ahead of the presidential election run-off as a publicity stunt. The opposition says the move to ease food shortages is aimed at buying votes, since the ruling party has failed to resolve a severe economic and political crisis. The opposition claims the maize would only be distributed to partisans of the ruling ZANU-PF party to the detriment of most Zimbabweans who the opposition party claims are suffering from the country’s economic meltdown. The government rejects the opposition’s accusations. From the capital, Harare, MDC international affairs secretary Eliphas Mukonoweshuro tells reporter Peter Clottey that the government wants to use the purchase of the maize as a political tool against opponents of the administration.
“It just demonstrates one thing, ZANU-PF has no clear policy to ameliorate the problems that are abundant in this country. Those tonnages of maize that have been bought are not intended to provide a long-term solution, but to simply win votes. They are going to go to ZANU-PF supporters instead of going to the nation and to the people in need. That surely, does not constitute a way forward to resolving the crisis in this country,” Mukonoweshuro said.
He said ordinary Zimbabweans would not be fooled by what he described as the government’s political gimmick.
“I don’t believe that the people of Zimbabwe would be enticed by politics of this nature. They do not want to eat once they want to eat for the rest of their lives. They want solutions that would guarantee that they would be able to fend for themselves as they have always done,” he noted.
Mukonoweshuro describes as unfortunate President Mugabe’s statement that he would not lose in the upcoming presidential run-off to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
“That is very worrying. Does he know the mind of the voter? You cannot go into an election and make a prediction that you are going to win unless you are going to do something sinister. We know that there attempts by the ZANU-PF to rig the elections, and we are saying to the international community that this is a promise that has not been delivered by Mr. Mugabe to say that the voice of the people is not going to matter, he has not got a determining hand that the voters would vote for him,” Mukonoweshuro pointed out.
He said the ruling ZANU-PF party is prepared to use the government’s available machinery to thwart an opposition victory in the presidential run-off.
“One of the vice presidents, Mr. Museka, is on record as saying that they are not going to lose the election on the basis that people have dipped their finger into it. Which means that they are saying regardless of the outcome of the people’s choice, they are not going to respect that verdict. And we are saying to the intentional community, take note of that,” he said.
Mukonoweshuro called on the international community to make certain President Mugabe abides by results of the run-off.
“The point is quite clear. We have already won the previous elections, and we are gong to win the next one. The challenge that is facing Zimbabweans, the region, the continent and the international community is to ensure that Mr. Mugabe submits to a program that ensures a soft landing for the people of Zimbabwe. There is absolutely no doubt at all that the MDC is going to win the election. It is not a matter of if it wins. It is when the MDC wins the election, what is Mr. Mugabe’s reaction going to be? What is his party’s reaction going to be, and what is the international community going to do?” Mukonoweshuro asked