MDC to test spirit of Sadc protocol

Itai Dzamara

THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is this weekend expected to hold rallies in Harare and Bulawayo to mark its fifth anniversary.



rial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The rallies, to be held at Zimbabwe Grounds tomorrow in Highfield and White City Stadium in Bulawayo on Sunday, will be used to explain to the electorate the party’s decision to suspend participation in future elections.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said on Wednesday the rallies would be addressed by MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai and Vice-President Gibson Sibanda.


“We want to see how the police will handle our rallies and campaign,” Nyathi said. “We also want to see whether Zanu PF will unleash violence on us,” he said.


“We are going to explain our position to the electorate regarding the 2005 election. Our position is that until such a time that Zanu PF implements the letter and spirit of the Sadc protocol on the principles and guidelines on holding democratic elections we will not participate. This is why we did not participate in Seke because the by-election was going to be held under a flawed electoral system.”


The MDC a fortnight ago decided to suspend participation in all future elections, triggering debate over the timing and political wisdom behind the pullout. The party cited lack of the rule of law, unfair electoral practices as well as use of draconian laws by Zanu PF.


The MDC’s decision came soon after President Robert Mugabe signed the Sadc protocol on the principles and guidelines on holding democratic elections.


Tsvangirai was attacked in Mvurwi by Zanu PF supporters in June when he went to address a scheduled rally and says the police failed to protect him and his entourage.


The Sadc protocol compels President Mugabe to implement wholesale changes to the electoral framework and government will soon be tabling a Bill in parliament seeking to introduce the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to run all future elections.


In his weekly column on Tuesday, Tsvangirai said the MDC marks its fifth anniversary having made great strides towards ending repression.


“The myth of invincibility that has come to be associated with Robert Mugabe’s regime has been shattered. Autocracy and tyranny under the mask of nationalism has been dealt a fatal blow. The principal doctrine of autocracy on which the Zanu PF dictatorship nourished has been smashed.

The very foundation of Mugabe’s tyranny has been defeated. It is a milestone, indeed,” Tsvangirai said.