President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party has dismissed
as frivolous and an affront to Zimbabweans calls by the leader of the main
opposition for fresh elections. Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) is challenging President Mugabe to fresh elections
under international supervision, which he predicts he would win. Tsvangirai
added that his MDC would rather quit the stalled power-sharing talks
than sign an unsatisfactory deal, which he claimed would be detrimental to the
Mkwananzi is the deputy chairperson of the National Constitution Assembly. He
tells reporter Peter Clottey from South Africa's capital, Pretoria, that
Tsvangirai's call will meet stiff resistance from both President Mugabe and
Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional body.
"Let me start by saying that
there is nothing wrong on the part of the MDC or its president to demand this,
particularly by upping their stakes in these negotiations. But as far as I can
see that is a demand that is likely to meet very stiff resistance not only from
ZANU-PF and Robert Mugabe, but also from the SADC region, which thinks that it
has everything under control. It has recommended that negotiations under the
facilitation of Thabo Mbeki (South Africa's President) must continue and
believe that the negotiation will produce a settlement for Zimbabwe," Mkwananzi
He said the regional body
would not be pleased with the demand of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
"They (SADC) would feel that
they are being undermined, they are being bypassed and there is no confidence
that is being expressed on their abilities and capacities to bring a solution
for the crisis in Zimbabwe. So, that is the major stumbling block for such a
call," he said.
Mkwananzi said President
Mugabe could name his cabinet this week despite strong opposition from the MDC,
which has said such a move would erode any gains made at the stalled peace
negotiations in South Africa.
"Yeah, Mugabe is an old and
stubborn fellow. He can go ahead and pout together a cabinet after all he has
nothing else to lose, except to save his face by appearing to be brave and in
charge. So, he can actually go ahead and do that in spite of the consequences,
which he knows very well that it would mean a deepening of the crisis, it would
mean the skyrocketing of prices it would mean the inflation getting worse and
worse. He can still go ahead in spite of all these things," Mkwananzi pointed
He said former Zambian
President Kenneth Kaunda's call for both sides in the Zimbabwe political crisis
to bury the hatchet might fall on deaf ears.
"I don't think it is a fresh
call because that has been a call from everybody. I don't think Robert Mugabe
respects Kaunda that much for him to begin to take such a call seriously
because if you know they were never really good friends even during the time of
the liberation struggle. He (Kaunda) was more of Nkomo ZAPU man. So, I don't
think it adds any dimension to the current calls by other people on this
issue," he said.
Mkwananzi said the
opposition could put the ruling ZANU-PF party under pressure in order to be
"I believe if the MDC can
actually accompany their talks for the demand for fresh elections supervised by
the international body, if it can be accompanied by very strong mass action, if
they can mobilize people in Zimbabwe and make that country ungovernable, then
they would be able to force Mugabe to take them seriously, and in fact would be
forced to take the talks seriously, and they would concede," Mkwananzi noted.