Tsvangirai flip-flopping on polls date: Ncube

HARARE - Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller MDC formation in terms of parliamentary representation, has accused Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of flip-flopping on election dates.

Addressing journalists at Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) press freedom day celebrations in Harare yesterday, Ncube accused his former political comrade of making a U-turn regarding the timing of poll.

The Industry minister in the shaky coalition government claimed that in January, Tsvangirai supported June elections only to make an about turn now.

“Let me disclose this to you, we were invited to South Africa during the Africa Cup of Nations final together with other political leaders in the GPA ( power sharing Global Political Agreement), we spoke with president Zuma (Jacob) regarding when elections are to be held.

“Tsvangirai and his team said we must hold elections by June 29 or the latest being July 15. We argued about it but they were adamant saying a government after that period would be illegal,” said Ncube.

“Now he has changed saying elections should be held in October and you journalists have failed to tell the world that previously he wanted polls to be held in June,” said Ncube, shaking off the media tag that he is leader of a breakaway faction. He insisted his party was the real MDC, despite holding less than half-a-dozen seats in the House of Assembly.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka described Ncube’s claims as “hogwash” saying it is his boss who blocked President Robert Mugabe from sneaking discussions of election timing in court.

“That is rubbish, it is hogwash,” said Tamborinyoka.

“It is unfortunate that it is only Ncube who does not know that it is Prime Minister Tsvangirai who forced Mugabe to withdraw his court application to call for general elections on June 29,” Tamborinyoka said.

Mugabe and his coalition partners have over the last few months been battling to secure consensus on election dates.

Tsvangirai is on record saying elections must be held in September arguing this would allow for the realignment of a raft of laws with the new constitution, while Ncube has suggested a date in August.

There are fears that an early July poll may precipitate a presidential election run-off that could end up disrupting a United Nations World Tourism (UNWTO) general assembly to be held jointly by Zimbabwe and Zambia from August 24 to 30.

Speaking at the MISA event, Ncube said chances are high that polls could be held without reforms due to political bickering by parties in the coalition government.

“It is unfortunate that we will end up using temporary presidential powers to implement some of the reforms because of time. If we go up to June 29 without implementing reforms and constitutional provisions that require the approval of Parliament, then Zanu PF will say let us have elections without reforms.

“We can either ask the president to invoke his temporary presidential powers to have reforms implemented, a development which I personally do not like,” Ncube said. - Xolisani Ncube and Vasco Chaya

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