Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is denying being part of ongoing negotiations with the ruling ZANU-PF party for a unity government, despite its reported participation. The MDC expressed confidence it would defeat incumbent President Robert Mugabe in the June 27th presidential run-off, which would end the veteran leader’s 28-year-rule. Simba Makoni, the only independent presidential candidate in the first round election said the run-off should be scrapped because the ongoing violence would not make it free and fair. John Makumbe is a political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe. From the capital, Harare he tells reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabweans are tired of President Mugabe’s rule.
“The mood in the country is very tense. There is a lot of tension because there is a lot of violence that is going on. The major perpetrators of the violence are essentially ZANU-PF, there are a lot of people in the rural areas who are running away from their homes, their homes are being burnt. And there is a lot of pain and suffering, and the cost of living has rocketed as the Zimbabwean dollar has collapsed. And so, a lot of people are saying when can we end this rule by Mr. Mugabe? And so a lot of people are not interested at all in the government of national unity, and Morgan Tsvangirai is correct to reject it,” Makumbe pointed out.
He said Simba Makoni was mistaken in calling for the cancellation of the June 27th election run-off election.
“Simba Makoni is wrong. Of course he should be the last person to speak about scrapping the run-off. The man could hardly get nine percent of the vote in the 29 March election, and so for him the run-off are sour grapes. There is no way he can be positive about the run-off. But he is correct nonetheless, to say there cannot be free and fair election under the current tension, the current pain and the current violence perpetrated by the ZANU-PF,” he said.
Makumbe said the main opposition is right in rejecting Makoni’s suggestion to scrap the upcoming run-off election.
“The MDC is correct to say the run-off is constitutional, and it is the next step to be taken, and so let it be taken. If Mugabe rigs the election and have himself declared the winner, let him run the country,” Makumbe pointed out.
He said Zimbabweans are of the view that President Mugabe is not in charge of the country, but rather it is the military that is making all the decisions.
“Everybody can see that’s happening. In fact the join operations command is really running the country. Robert Mugabe is a stooge of the military and the security forces; he is hardly making any decisions. The decisions are being made by the commander of the army; the commander of the Air force and the Commissioner General of the police, and the director of the Prison Service, and the director of the Central Intelligence, those are the people who are running the country. We all see that happening, and Robert Mugabe is just a civilian leader of a military junta,” he said.