I WANT to congratulate Morgan Tsvangirai for his bold decision to pull out of the run-off election.
While the media will most likely go to town over perceived divisions within the MDC over this move, I would like to stand solidly behind this decision.
As much as it is a sad and unfortunate development, it is but appropriate and necessary given the level of violence.
Mugabe and his securocrats including his wife Grace, have openly declared that they will not concede defeat with Grace vowing that Tsvangirai will never set foot in State House. To display that these were not empty threats, the MDC is literally banned from campaigning.
Sadc, AU and UN are helplessly watching without doing anything tangible. Monitors and observers are not allowed to perform their duties. MDC polling agents have been murdered, maimed or displaced. Indeed, this would be a shameful election.
Mugabe has two choices: to manipulate this development and declare himself winner thereby becoming an illegitimate leader who will be increasingly isolated not only by the West but by his own African brothers. Fissures have started to emerge within both Sadc and AU. These will continue to widen.
The second choice for Mugabe is to capitalise on this opportunity and create for himself some kind of a graceful exit by either stepping down and let Tsvangirai and those moderates from within Zanu PF form a national healing government with MDC as a senior partner since they won most of the votes and seats during the first election. This transitional arrangement can be in place for 18 to 24 months while a new constitution is being worked out which will be the basis for a post-transitional election.
Anybody who would like to see the MDC participating in this run-off needs to do a bit of soul-searching and tell us what the run-off will achieve given the reality on the ground. Who is going to vote for Tsvangirai when his supporters are either displaced, killed or in hospital? Who is going to campaign for him when his leaders are in prison?
You can stop an election but not change. I totally endorse the pull-out.