Tsvangirai promises to protect Mugabe once in power

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Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which claims it won last month’s controversial presidential election, will not hurt President Robert Mugabe, when it comes to power.

“What shall we do to Mugabe? Nothing!” declared Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, who says he won the election with more than 50 per cent of the vote in the 29 March poll.

“Mugabe is an important figure in the history of Zimbabwe and Africa and we are aware of that so we intend to maintain that reputation of his heroism,” Tsvangirai told a press conference in Accra on Tuesday.

“Mugabe is a liberation hero on our continent and he must be convinced to respect the wishes and democratic rights of the people of Zimbabwe and make a graceful exit,” he added.

Tsvangirai, who was in Accra to put the case of the MDC to world leaders and international community at the 12th UNCTAD meeting in Accra, said they were adopting a diplomatic approach to the problem.

While in Accra, he met the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and President John Kuffuor.

He dismissed suggestions that he has stayed out of Zimbabwe longer than usual be cause he was afraid to return home, saying it was part of his and MDC’s strategy for him to do more diplomatic consultations to ensure widespread international involvement in the Zimbabwean crisis.

“Nobody can stop me from going to Zimbabwe; when I am ready I will return home and safely too,” Tsvangirai said.

He said South African President Thabo Mbeki was “not an honest mediator” in the Zimbabwean electoral crisis adding that the MDC was disturbed by the role he was playing in “undermining the victory” of the people of Zimbabwe in the election.

“We are disturbed by his comments regarding the crisis in our country as well as his disinformation campaign during the recent Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) meeting in Mauritius and during the just-ended United Nations Security Council meeting in New York.”

President Mbeki was reported to have said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai said contrary to President Mbeki’s assertion of the situation in Zimbabwe, 10 people had so far been killed, 500 injured and hospitalized and thousands displaced from their homes.

He therefore called on President Mbeki to be bold and take the historic opportunity of the Zimbabwean crisis to side with the people and not with any political party.

Tsvangirai reiterated that the “MDC will not participate in a stage-managed run-off simply because Robert Mugabe does not want to accept that we won the elections decisively”.

He repeated that by law the electoral results should have been declared and verified by all stakeholders before a run-off could be declared.

“In any case figures we compiled show that we won the presidential election decisively by 50.3 per cent and that is more than the 50 per cent plus one votes required by the constitution for a winner to be declared.”

Tsvangirai accused Mr. Mugabe, who has ruled the southern African country since independence 28 years ago, of overseeing a carefully orchestrated military plan that had altered the electoral environment and created an environment of fear and intimidation with people being killed.

“We are calling on every village and every city, every ethnic community, every man and woman, every head state in Africa to stand in defence of the people of Zimbabwe.”

Tsvangirai said the reputation of Africa may suffer seriously if President Mugabe was allowed to undermine the results of a democratic election by refusing to transfer power knowing he had lost the popular support of the people of Zimbabwe. Panapress.

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