Simba Makoni asks Tsvangirai and Mugabe to cancel run-off

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Dr Simba Makoni, who come third at the inconclusive presidential elections has called for the cancellation of the presidential run off and calling for the formation of a government of national unity.

from our correspondent in Harare

Speaking in Harare on Thursday, Makoni, who stood as an independent, said Zimbabwe was “currently in the grip of a profound crisis”. He claimed that a second election was not an urgent priority at the moment.

MDC presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai and the incumbent Robert Mugabe are set to do battle in a second round after of voting on June 27. According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission neither Mugabe nor Tsvangirai polled more than the required 50 percent of the total votes cast required for the winner to form the next government.

Makoni, who emerged in distant third position with only eight percent of the votes polled says he believes the presidential election run-off would worsen the current crisis in Zimbabwe. Among other things, Makoni said the run-off could result in more deaths and also further cripple the national economy.

Since the March 29 election, violence has erupted in mostly rural constituencies. More than 50 MDC supporters have been killed ostensibly by Zanu-PF activists, while thousands of others have been displaced from their homes.

Should the Zimbabwe go ahead and hold elections next month the situation will get worse, Mokoni says.

Makoni, a former finance minister whom Mugabe fired from his Cabinet in
2002, said there was also evidence of retaliatory violence by opposition
supporters. “The last thing our country needs is another election. At the moment, our urgent need is to restore the safety and security of innocent civilians.

“Another election would further traumatise the 84-year-old grandfather who I saw last week with three deep cuts on his head. It will further traumatise the 65-year-old grandmother I saw last week who could not sit or sleep on either side.”

Makoni said Mugabe and Tsvangirai should agree to put the people first and save the people from further brutalisation. “We especially implore them to agree to work together, the two of them, and with others, to construct a transitional dispensation, and constitute a transitional
authority that saves the people from injury and death, restores the people to safety and security, offers the people hope, stabilises our economy and prepares our country for a re-engagement with the international community,” said Makoni.

Zanu-PF and the MDC have in the past dismissed Makoni’s calls for a government of national unity, saying since he emerged a distant third with only eight percent of the total votes cast, the former finance minister was over estimating his role in the current political situation.

However, analysts here say noble his proposition may be, it is most likely to fall on the deaf ears of both Tsvangirai and Mugabe. Both these men want the presidency and neither of them wants to settle for a
prime ministerial post which they feel is inferior, they say.

Makoni’s blatant refusal to align himself with either Zanu-PF or the MDC is not because he does not want to be aligned to anyone. It is because both groupings might not want anything to do with him and they view him as being irrelevant in Zimbabwe’s politics.

But on Thursday, Makoni stepped up his calls, saying in addition to the
violence, the country did not have the financial resources to run another
election. “The harmonised elections of March 29 2008 produced a hung Parliament, and no clear presidential winner, and the country is threatened with a gruelling presidential run-off. The country cannot afford another election at this time.

“The national fiscus cannot finance another election, and indeed could not finance the last one. Effective government functions have been paralysed since the launch of the election campaign in January 2008.”

Makoni also confirmed that although he had not personally met Mugabe and Tsvangirai on the proposed government of national unity, consultations were currently underway. “Zimbabwe needs more time to normalise,” he said. “We need more time to revive our economy and restore our national institutions. Mugabe sat on the same negotiating table with Ian Smith, and they managed to resolve the crisis that was gripping our nation then. Do you think Morgan Tsvangirai is worse than

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