PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday said he was prepared for fresh elections to settle the current political impasse which has stalled the formation of a government since his disputed re-election in June.
Mugabeâ€™s remarks yesterday â€” which follow hard on the heels of similar pronouncements last week â€” demonstrate a tacit admission that his re-election in the June 27 one-man presidential election run-off was a sham. They are also seen as a bid to force the opposition MDC into a unity government.
African election observers, including Sadc, the Pan African Parliament and AU, among others, rejected his re-election as illegitimate. The outcome was widely-rejected by the international community on the grounds that he won through a campaign of violence. More than 100 people were killed prior to the run-off.
Mugabe fought back after he was defeated in the first round of voting by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who however fell short of the required majority to win outright. Tsvangiraiâ€™s MDC also defeated Zanu PF and ended its 28-year control of parliament.
The combined opposition MPs in parliament mean that Zanu PF can no longer pass legislation on its own. As a result, Mugabe has been forced into talks with Tsvangirai and the other MDC smaller faction leader Arthur Mutambara to resolve the political impasse.
The talks however appear to be faltering and Mugabe has been indicating publicly since last week that he was prepared for fresh elections to break the impasse.
Botswana President Ian Khama has said if the power-sharing talks between Zanu PF and the MDC factions fail, there should be fresh elections under international supervision.
Speaking at the burial of the late Zanu PF political commissar Elliot Manyika at Heroes Acre in Harare yesterday, Mugabe said elections might be looming. Manyika died in a car crash on Saturday.
A unity government deal Mugabe signed with leaders of the MDC formations â€” Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara â€” has failed to take off because of haggling over the allocation of ministerial portfolios, provincial governors, permanent secretaries and ambassadors, among others.
Mugabe attacked Tsvangirai for frustrating the implementation of the pact, describing him as a â€œpolitical prostituteâ€ for travelling abroad instead of dealing with problems at home.
â€œWe are Zimbabweans. We have our own laws. We have our own courts.Â What can stop us from sitting together to solve our problems?Â Why then would one globetrot to Germany, to the Netherlands, to
Botswana, to Senegal, visiting all these countries?â€ Mugabe questioned.
â€œWe donâ€™t want that prostitution.Â It is prostitution in politics.Â We donâ€™t want politics driven by that kind of prostitution, letâ€™s settle things here.Â We can go to an election if elections are desirable and the people are the deciders and we will never reject their verdict. We have always accepted their verdict.â€
Last week, Mugabe told his supporters at the Zanu PF headquarters that the country could go for elections in the next one-and-a-half to two years if the inclusive government fails to work.
â€œWe agreed to give them 13 ministries while we share the Ministry of Home Affairs, but if the arrangement fails to work in the next one-and-a-half years to two years then we would go for elections,â€ Mugabe said.Â
â€œThe MDC should say no if they do not want to be part of an inclusive government.â€
Yesterday, Mugabe said the MDC-Tsvangirai should not fool itself that it won the March 29 presidential election.
â€œThe MDC did not win the elections. They led. Thatâ€™s what the law says. If you donâ€™t get more than 50%, you do not win,â€ he said.
Mugabe said he was waiting to hear what the â€œWesterners will sayâ€ since there is no outright winner in the elections held in Ghana where a run-off has been called.
He said there was no more reason for Western countries to invade Zimbabwe because cholera had been â€œarrestedâ€ at a time the UN says the disease had killed nearly 800 people and was spreading.
BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA