Thursday 23 November 2017

PM accuses Mugabe of plotting to steal next election

Peter Oborne

Zimbabwe's prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has ruled out staying in coalition with President Robert Mugabe after the forthcoming election, accusing his old foe of plotting to steal the poll.

A political deal brought Mr Tsvangirai into government in 2009 after Mr Mugabe won a bitterly disputed election that cost hundreds of lives.

But in an interview, Mr Tsvangirai said he was not willing to repeat the experience. As he prepares to run for the presidency against Mr Mugabe for a third time, he made clear that if he lost on July 31, he would refuse any invitation to stay on as prime minister.

Calling the survival of the coalition a "regressive step", Mr Tsvangirai insisted: "The people of Zimbabwe are desperate to start on a new plate and actually give proper direction ... and actually start all over again."

Mr Tsvangirai said that when he first became prime minister, he worked "very effectively" with Mr Mugabe. But the president broke off cooperation in the run-up to this year's presidential poll.


Mr Tsvangirai said Mr Mugabe was "determined to retain power by whatever means", adding: "It is definitely clear that the military is the one in charge of this process and that Mugabe's government doesn't believe in a free and fair vote."

He accused the authorities of padding out the electoral roll with dead voters in order to create room for rigging. "From our analysis you have 100,000 people above the age of 100."

Meanwhile, only a quarter of young voters aged between 18 and 25 – who are more likely to support Mr Tsvangirai – have been registered.

Mobs loyal to Mr Mugabe killed hundreds before the last two presidential elections in 2002 and 2008. This time, however, there has been little bloodshed. Instead, Mr Tsvangirai said his opponent was relying on rigging to guarantee victory. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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