Tuesday 24 June 2008

Tsvangirai pulls out of election

Morgan Tsvangirai said early yesterday that he will withdraw from this week's run-off election in Zimbabwe due to the violence.

His supporters faced being killed if they voted for him and that under such circumstances he could not ask them to do so.

According to Tsvangirai, a free and fair election was impossible for eight basic reasons...
  • "state-sponsored violence" ("The police have been reduced to bystanders while Zanu PF militia commit crimes against humanity varying from rape, torture, murder, arson, abductions and other atrocities.");

  • interference with the MDC's campaign, including its inability to hold rallies;

  • the arrests of many members of the MDC, including important figures, thereby disrupting the party's organizational ability to campaign;

  • Electoral Commission "partisanship" (although he said that the Electoral Commission was not really in control);

  • media censorship, harassment of journalists, and the exclusion of foreign journalists;

  • Mugabe's attitude and his suggestions that he would not accept defeat;

  • the existence of "an elaborate and decisive plan by Zanu PF to rig the elections", which included extensive intimidation, obstruction of MDC election agents, and ballot-stuffing in the Mashonaland provinces.

Tsvangirai has said that the MDC would ultimately prevail and that its victory "can only be delayed".

Despite Tsvangirai's withdrawal, Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said that the second round would nevertheless be held. "The constitution does not say that if somebody drops out or decides to chicken out the runoff will not be held."

Tsvangirai yesterday took refuge in the Dutch Embassy.

This TV advert for the MDC in Zimbabwe was banned by Mugabe.

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