'We should have boycotted 2013 polls'

HARARE - Opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has apologised to Zimbabweans for agreeing to participate in the 2013 elections in the absence of requisite reforms demanded by the party and Sadc before the controversial polls.

Against his better judgment, Tsvangirai, who was the prime minister in an uneasy coalition government between 2009 and 2013, contested in the general elections two years ago and lost to President Robert Mugabe — whose party grabbed an unassailable two thirds majority.

But Tsvangirai has refused to accept the poll outcome, pointing out to the involvement of a shadowy Israeli company, Nikuv, “to manipulate the electoral processes”.

After the rout, Tsvangirai, who went to the polls without a voters’ roll, was accused by his critics of having ignored advice from Sadc.

And on Thursday night while unveiling his party’s “Without Reforms, No Elections” document, the veteran opposition leader, whose party turns 16 this month, said they made a mistake.

“We were wrong in 2013 and we cannot afford to be wrong again in 2015. This time, we are insisting on the implementation of what we agreed together as political players under the auspices of the regional body.”

In the document, the MDC leader sets out conditions that would see him taking part in future elections.

He said it is wrong to  assume that “the sheer numbers of Zimbabweans would overwhelm whatever shenanigans Zanu PF had planned, to subvert the will of the people”.

Tsvangirai also demanded that mechanisms be put in place to ensure that in future polls, traditional leaders do not frog-march people to vote for certain political parties as has become the norm in Zimbabwe’s politics.

Mugabe has been accused of taking advantage of his incumbency to direct traditional leaders who are on the public service payroll to coerce people to support Zanu PF.

Tsvangirai said his party’s demands also include certain technical issues with a bearing on the credibility of elections including the independence of the Rita Makarau-led Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

“The issues also include transparency and full accountability on voter registration, the voters’ roll and the printing of election and voting materials.

“We saw recently in elections in Namibia and Zambia that it is possible to have representation from all contesting parties at the printing and transportation of all voting materials, even if the material is printed outside the country where an election is taking place.”

The battle-hardened Tsvangirai also made a case for unbiased accreditation of election observers.

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide and we believe the non-accreditation of certain observers is based on our own fears because we are not confident of the transparency of our electoral processes.”

He said the reforms that his party are demanding are meant to ensure that Zimbabwe will not have any disputed elections in future.

“The country cannot afford to get it wrong next time, whenever that next time will be!” he said.

Comments (22)

I wonder why zanu is refusing to implement those political reforms. Why also some people with clear functioning senses are still going to vote when we know all is not in well in the voters roll. Time to also boycot elections with Tsvangiai all zimbos. Hatineti neiko kunhuwa ziya, kuteka mvura mumatsime nekuvesa moto wehuni. Nyika dzese dzave nemagetsi kumaruwa, pombi dzemvura musha wega wega. Harahwa nechembere nevakaremara vanofanira kutambiriswa mari nehumende mwedzi wega wega. Imi munoenda kunovhotera masango amakapiwa musina zvamunoburitsa maari. Svinurai nguva yakwana vana veZimbabwe NO REFORMS NO ELECTIONS!!!!!! MDC ndizvo

dembo - 13 September 2015

dai ndakaziva haitungamiri. you where away mdara kumadzimai and when you came back the vote had already been stolen. hazvidi hope save. for sleeping on the job, you lost many supporters. give up mdara and had help the party to recover lost ground.

zvirozviyedzwa - 13 September 2015

Mr Tsvangi many believe u & your party made 3 suicidal blunders not just 1, as you amy believe. These are: 1) rushed joining of so-called GNU - when all & sundry could see & tell that your party had been given nothing with regard to ministries that matter in the Zim context; 2) failure to decisively act against Mugabe/zanu pf intransigence, especially their open refusal to undertake initially agreed reform, during so-called GNU period; and 3) participation in a flawed and fraudulent 2013 election. The questions : 1) Have yourself & the party you lead learnt anything from these successive & rather intricate blunders? 2) Have you done a holistic situational analysis & identify why such a chain of blunders befell your party? 3) Have you taken corrective action? 4)... Surely, if the answer to any or most of above critical questions, then Mr Tsvangi you will remain a crying baby until donkeys grow horns - just to borrow from zanu pf goons.

mapingu - 13 September 2015

Matakadya kare haanyaradze mwana. We warned Tsvangirayi repeatedly against participating in the 2013 elections. We sent urgent messages . We talked on conference calls with his visiting officials here. We reminded him that even SADC had advised Tsvangirayi not to participate. We pleaded with them all NOT TO PARTICIPATE. But we were told by Tsvangirayi's officials that we, Diaspora, were "out of touch" with the anti Mugabe anger and the mood on the ground..that MDC was headed for a landslide win...that there was no question of the elections being rigged again because MDC had perfected and put in place a machinery to make sure rigging did not happen. Our advice, our frantic appeals were totally ignored. We were, instead, asked to contribute money to the MDC election campaign!!! They were anxiously willing and waiting to receive our donations..But not our advice. Now, two years after the elections,Tsvangirayi has at last had the gall to say they made a mistake in participating in the elections. I wonder what new yarn they will be spinning for the 2018 elections!!!! By that time Diaspora will have washed their hands off this MDC circus

Jive Mabhindauko - 13 September 2015

Boycotting elections in Zimbabwe with greedy people like Biti, Mangoma, Welshmen and Madhuku will not serve much purpose and at the same time it useless to participate. ZANU PF has already lined up its smaller opposition to contest with the 2018 election , as the elections draws closer you will see mushrooming f parties. Instead of MDC T to be so vocal of the reforms, the critical issue is to find means of endearing themselves with the security sector so that if Mugabe and ZANU PF rigs there will be resistance as what happened in 2008 though some security chiefs finally considered a defeat in their quest for credible election

ananian - 13 September 2015

The agreement by the MDC to join the GNU helped abate a serious humanitarian crisis in Zim. Only those that were in Zim then understand how refreshing the GNU was. The only mistake MDC made during the GNU era was failing to ensure the electoral reforms happened. But we all know what an unfaithful and insincere bed fellow they had in ZPF. Biycotting elections would not and will not move ZPF an inch. As said in one comment, there will always be a new small unknown party that would be created and sponsored by ZPF to participate so that there is an "election". ZPF are happy with the MDC not participating in an election as theres no cut-throat campaigning to do - easy victories. That said, boyctting any election without exerting pressure for electoral reforms to be made will only see opposition parties sink into oblivion, and ZPF ruling for eternity

boutros - 13 September 2015

Tsvangirai should always think of what he says before he opens his mouth. NO USE TO CRY OVER SPILT MILK. Tsvangirai & you alone have been found napping on the job, enjoying the forbidden fruit at the expense of Zimbabweans who had invested a lot of trust in your party. Truth is Tsvangirai wakakurumidza kukara kudya kutsenga uchada and nothing can take you back to where you were supposed to have been. With the coming of Joice Mujuru (aka Teurai Ropa) on the scene of politics Baba Tsvangirai hamuchina chenyu, makarumwa nechekuchera. Dining with the devil when you where supposed to stamp your ground whilst you were able and given the chance - and what did you do: started gallivanting and abusing government funds. Truth is Tsvangirai njere chaidzo ishoma. Tsvangison needs redemption or to throw in the towel. To be blunt YOU ARE NOT A MATCH TO ZANU-PF. For instance to date you stay in a government ZANU-PF house in Highlands... and why, kwako kuda rugare here??? Why not move back to your small house where you started from.

Mimi - 14 September 2015

This kind of approach does not help the electorate at all. If you are always apologising it means you are not the right man for the job. Its very noble agreed but its also a glaring sign of weakness. If you were at the helm of government how many apologies would there be by now. This is the reason why a leader should be there for a very short time. You drastically reduce the probability of falling into errors. This kind of politicking is cheap and washed up. Do it once and do it right first time. Time to go save

Realist - 14 September 2015

Dr Tsvangirai although we appreciate your apology but do you have an idea how much people lost their loving ones, lost business, lost opportunities and many other things because of your ill advised moves. How many times were you told NOT to participate in the 2013 elections, how many timees did even SADC hint to you to continue to push for change to the electoral landscape before any credible election??? Your security department let you down. You were enticed by small chocolates and you let people down. Now you hear some stupid Dr Teurai Ropa and Mad Mutasa apologising after partaking in oppressing Zimbabweans for 35 f%$#ng years you want to embrace these crooks!!! NO NO let us finish th struggle on our own without these f%$#ng Mujurus, Mutasas, Mliswas, wrong baskets etc. We as MDC supporters have come a long way to get any opportunists on board. NO NO ndaramba

garikayi - 14 September 2015

@Mapingu you are quite correct in your analysis - Tsvangirai has made too many suicidal blunders - but when you think about it, were they blunders or acts designed to help Mugabe back up onto his feet again? Tsvangirai is a huge asset to the Robert Mugabe camp and an even bigger obstacle in our way to true democracy and a better life.

Destitute - 14 September 2015

ive lost hope in Tsvangirai period lets have other people please,we can look and say what ever,but from where i stand he does not posses the mental aptitude that is required to take on veterans

Dube1 - 14 September 2015

make your own mistakes .don't just blame others . we need a better Zimbabwe not criticism. Both Mugabe and tsvangison are brands and you can buy one if you cant create your own

jones - 14 September 2015

make your own mistakes .don't just blame others . we need a better Zimbabwe not criticism. Both Mugabe and tsvangison are brands and you can buy one if you cant create your own

jones - 14 September 2015

ha ha ha you cant make it up even if you tried. There is no hope.

Galore 123 - 14 September 2015

apa mazimba mataura chokwadi. tsvangirai belongs to the past. he let us down many times and we should simply resign him. in any case he had promised to serve only three terms as leader of the mdc. now that he tasted power, he doesn't want to pass the baton. he is a handiende type.

zvirozviyedzwa - 14 September 2015

There is no point in crying over spilt milk. No doubt mistakes were made but its time to strategise moving forward. The problem though is how to remove this govt thru the ballot box when they have mastered rigging these elections since year 2000? People want change but how do they make their vote count in the face of this ZPF election rigging machine? If opposition parties cannot answer these questions then the 2018 election result is already predetermined.

Jicksaw Puzzle - 14 September 2015

Shut up Legend of the Seas

apongos - 15 September 2015

2018 will also expose Tsvangirai, whether he has genuinely repented or not. Mujuru will opt to contest and this will create a dilenma for Tsvangirai. The fear to lose voters to Mujuru may lead him to backtrack on his "No Reforms, No Elections campaign". On the other hand if he stands his ground and Mujuru enters the race and wins, then Tsvangirai's leadership will expire giving way to younger leadership! If Tsvangirai's repentance is not genuine, the same heart that refused to heed abundant advice and intelligence from SADC, AU against going into elections will undo him again against advise and intelligence to go into the elections or otherwise, whatever the case may be. My bet is that the advice will be for him to enter the race first alone, and then in coalition for the run-off! In the meantime, Tsvangirai should get out of that govt house if at all he can. While he remains in that house, I am convinced that his heart has not yet changed. True leadership is not about head knowledge but about heart knowledge (wisdom). Knowledge and advice is readily available, but wisdom & courage to do the right thing is in short supply. Many of our leaders are so compromised they just can't do the right thing as it would hurt them too once done! MDC-T and Morgan were stronger in the past than they will ever be in the near future. For now it is a sinking ship. The inevitable is that MDC-T and Tsvangirai if not truly repented may never smell power. MDC's chances of the past were better than those in the near future. Nevertheless with or without MDC-T Zimbabwe's transformation is beckoning and in 2018 my view is that change will finally arrive.

Zimdestiny - 22 September 2015

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