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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Tsvangirai loses hope following election defeat
The Guardian (UK)
August 04, 2013
View this article
on The Guardian (UK) website
striving to overturn his defeat in Zimbabwe's
presidential election, has given his biggest hint yet that a
popular uprising is the only option left for resisting the regime
of the president, Robert Mugabe.
the national election commission, Mugabe won 61% of the vote compared
with Tsvangirai's 34%. The result was branded a "coup by ballot"
by the opposition leader. But on Sunday the polls result was endorsed
by South Africa, leaving Tsvangirai isolated and fast running out
are not called by leaders," Tsvangirai, head of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) told South Africa's eNews Channel Africa.
"Revolutions are something that is inside, and if you've got
something inside and it drives you to do something, then nothing
can stop you. In this case, there's no strategy for the leadership
of the MDC. We've told people, there's been a subversion in 2002,
there's been a subversion in 2008, there's a subversion now. The
power is in your hands. It cannot be a revolution by the leadership."
The MDC has
consistently renounced violence and resisted calls to organise street
protests against what it regards a stolen election. But last week
Roy Bennett, the party's treasurer-general who is exiled in South
Africa, called for a campaign of passive resistance to bring the
country to a standstill.
floated the idea of a mass prayer meeting. But Harare, the capital,
was calm on Sunday with many residents going to church as usual.
In his eNCA
interview, Tsvangirai, 61, added: "Remember that this democratic
struggle has been a struggle with so many frustrating episodes.
For me, I think this is the most frustrating event of my life because
I thought that like everyone else in the world, president Mugabe,
Zanu-PF, would respect Zimbabweans. But I have seen that they have
no respect for Zimbabweans. They have respect for themselves and
party also won three-quarters of the seats in parliament, leaving
the MDC at one of the lowest ebbs in its 14-year history. Party
members have complained about the printing of surplus ballot papers,
irregularities in the voters' roll, traditional leaders "frogmarching"
villagers to the polls, people feigning illiteracy to be "assisted",
voters being bussed to faraway constituencies, and the malign influence
of the military.
the reflection of the will of the people," said Tsvangirai,
who was Prime Minister under Africa's oldest leader in an uneasy
coalition government. "I don't think that even those in Africa
that have committed acts of ballot rigging have done it such a brazen
He spoke as
a division between Africa and the west opened up over the integrity
of last week's polls. The UK, US and Australia lined up behind Tsvangirai
while the African Union and South Africa took 89-year-old Mugabe's
side in what critics saw as a sacrifice of principle for the sake
of regional stability.
reservations expressed by William Hague and John Kerry, Australia's
for a re-run of the election, warning that it would not lift sanctions
unless free and fair polls were held.
minister, Bob Carr, said: "Given our doubts about the results,
Australia calls for a re-run of the elections based on a verified
and agreed voters roll."
But the South
African president, Jacob Zuma, who has led the Zimbabwe mediation
process in recent years, offered "profound congratulations"
His office said
Zuma "urges all political parties in Zimbabwe to accept the
outcome of the elections as election observers reported it to be
an expression of the will of the people".
comes as a hammer blow to the MDC which has previously praised Zuma
for taking a tougher line against Mugabe than his predecessor, Thabo
Mbeki. In effect it destroys Tsvangirai's last hope of appealing
to the southern African regional bloc to intervene and nullify the
election. It also leaves Britain and its western allies marginalised.
main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, gave a scathing
response. The shadow foreign minister, Ian Davidson, said: "By
congratulating Robert Mugabe on his stolen election president Zuma
has failed Zimbabwe, failed Zimbabweans and failed the Southern
African Development Community by not providing the leadership that
the region desperately required.
Zuma's congratulations are not only extremely premature, given the
very serious irregularities that have been noted in the elections,
but shamefully legitimise undemocratic practices during elections,
and send a message that significant irregularities will be tolerated
by his administration."
independent domestic monitors said the polls were "seriously
compromised" by registration problems that may have disenfranchised
up to a million people.
watchdog Global Witness has alleged that state
diamond revenues were spent on securing Mugabe's re-election.
rejected all vote-rigging allegations but on Saturday one of the
nine members of the election commission resigned over the way it
Mkhululi Nyathi, said in his resignation letter: "While throughout
the whole process I retained some measure of hope that the integrity
of the whole process could be salvaged along the way, this was not
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