Zanu PF will respect poll verdict: Chinamasa

HARARE - Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa has insisted that Zanu PF will respect the outcome of polls expected later this year and denied allegations the party was intimidating voters into voting for President Robert Mugabe by threatening mayhem if it loses.

Chinamasa was speaking during an interview with the BBC when he was challenged about remarks attributed to him and Zanu PF’s spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, suggesting MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai would not be allowed to take-over power if he wins elections.

He said: “The next elections will be credible because they are being managed by the three parties in the coalition government and Zanu PF will accept the will of the people.

“But as a Zanu PF official I will not give the possibility that Morgan Tsvangirai will win the elections … I’m campaigning to win and we are going to win.”

Chinamasa was in London with Cabinet colleagues from the MDC formations for meetings with UK government officials and donor agencies as part of tentative attempts to reset currently icy relations between the two countries.

Mugabe lost the first round of the 2008 Presidential elections but Tsvangirai pulled out of the run-off accusing top generals and senior security services personnel loyal to the Zanu PF leader of brutalising his supporters.

A number of serving generals have also publicly stated that they would not accept a president who did not fight in the liberation war in remarks seen as targeted at Tsvangirai.

Last October, Chinamasa suggested that there would be a coup if  Tsvangirai won elections while Gumbo warned that it would be “messy” if Mugabe was not re-elected.

But Chinamasa told the BBC’s Stephen Sackur, in an interview broadcast on Tuesday that the remarks had been taken out of context and insisted his party was not trying to frighten people into voting for it.
He however, said Tsvangirai’s conduct was raising suspicion.

“Tsvangirai has been gallivanting in Europe holding meetings with Nato generals without informing his colleagues in the coalition government what military subjects he is raising with them … that creates the impression that he is part of the agenda to effect regime change and, therefore, it creates difficulties,” he said.

“He (Tsvangirai) even excludes our embassy staff from these meetings … that raises suspicion, surely.”
Chinamasa denied suggestions the alleged harassment and intimidation of human rights organisations and the banning of shortwave radios was evidence Zanu PF was not prepared to level the playing field ahead of the fresh elections.

Told by Suckar that Zanu PF regarded the shortwave radios as “dangerous” because they enabled people to listen to alternative views on developments in the country, Chinamasa retorted: “Please, please, please —SWRadio Africa, Voice of America and VOP from the Netherlands are all propaganda regime change stations.

“They are sponsored by their respective governments to (help) effect regime change because they all demonise Zanu PF, beaming illegally into our country.”

Chinamasa said his invitations — the first time a Zanu PF minister has held official meetings with the UK government in more than a decade — was a sign British authorities were keen to improve relations which have been frosty since the imposition of sanctions. He however, insisted that the sanctions —suspended last month — must be completely removed and without any conditions.

“We have been shut out from this space for the past 14 years. We have not been allowed use this platform to explain to the British people our side of the story,” he said.

“But the sanctions must be lifted completely and without conditions. They are an illegal and unwarranted interference in our domestic affairs … the EU and the British government have no business interfering in our processes.

“We are no longer a colony of the British or any other European country for that matter. Why should they want to supervise our processes?”
— New Zimbabwe

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