OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has vowed to intensify pressure to wring more political concessions from the ruling Zanu PF ahead of next year’s gene
ral election. Tsvangirai said on Tuesday that the MDC had formulated strategies to force the ruling party to make further concessions to create a balanced environment for free and fair elections.
“There is a broad acceptance countrywide that once a dictatorship starts to yield to popular pressure, the people must push it further towards full political reform for the sake of a lasting solution and peace,” he said.
“Political transformation is a comprehensive process of change, as was the case in Eastern Europe and in South Africa. We are prepared to maintain the pressure for a total package of reforms (because) Zanu PF has run out of options.”
Although he did not reveal his party’s new strategies, Tsvangirai said these would heighten pressure on the ruling party to accept more fundamental political reforms.
He said his party would persist in its efforts to ensure there was a “radical revision” of the country’s electoral system before next year’s March election.
“I am happy that all the senior leaders of the MDC, right down to our provinces and districts, are united on the need for a radical revision to our electoral standards before we embark on another national election.”
Yielding to sustained internal and external pressure, Zanu PF two weeks ago adopted sweeping reforms which will result in the introduction of an independent electoral commission and new structures to replace the current system that has been widely criticised as open to manipulation.
The MDC welcomed the electoral changes but urged the ruling party to make further reforms to open up democratic space and improve the political climate.
The opposition said it would not help to just change the electoral law without addressing key issues such as political repression, violence, and intimidation to restore civil and political liberties.
Tsvangirai was last Friday attacked by suspected Zanu PF militants while addressing a political rally at Mvurwi in Mashonaland Central province.
He said last week’s incident clearly showed that political violence still held sway on the political scene.
“It has become clear from the attack on our meeting in Mvurwi that our political system is still too primitive and too raw for comfort,” Tsvangirai said.
“However, we shall liaise with all the communities and share our vision for the future. We have to reach out to millions of people in the next few months, even if it requires us to conduct our meetings at night.”