Formally withdraw candidature, MDC-T told

Herald Reporter, The Herald, April 12, 2008

THE MDC-T says it has resolved against participating in the pending presidential election run-off, but Zanu-PF has challenged the opposition to formally withdraw its candidature if it is sincere with the boycott threat.

Opposition spokesman Mr Nelson Chamisa said their national executive met at Harvest House on Thursday and agreed not to participate in a presidential run-off.

Mr Chamisa said the supreme decision-making arm of the party also reaffirmed its decision not to participate in recounting votes in five House of Assembly constituencies.

"We met as the party’s national executive and it was agreed in that meeting that we should not participate in any run-off, neither should we participate in the proposed recount," said Mr Chamisa in an interview.

But Zanu-PF chairperson for the information and publicity sub-committee Cde Patrick Chinamasa challenged the opposition to write a letter to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission withdrawing their presidential candidate.

He said in the absence of a letter by the MDC-T, their claims would not be taken seriously since in the past they have made several election boycotts which they did not carry out.

Cde Chinamasa who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs said the MDC-T was threatening to boycott the run-off because it realised Zanu-PF would defeat it.

"Zanu-PF does not take pronouncements by the MDC-T at face value. It is characteristic of the MDC-T that when they want to turn right they signal to turn left.

"Tsvangirai split his party in 2005 over participation in Senate elections because he said it was a useless and irrelevant organ, but on March 29 2008 the MDC made a U-turn and participated in an even expanded Senate," said Cde Chinamasa.

"With respect to the run-off, they said they will boycott, but there is evidence that their people are on the ground campaigning. Who are they fooling?

"The MDC Tsvangirai operates on a borrowed agenda and ultimately they will do what their masters tell them to do. If they are sincere about the boycott of the run-off, we challenge them to write a letter of withdrawal to ZEC so that the withdrawal is made formal."

He said they were making the threats because they were afraid that they might lose the run-off.

"The MDC Tsvangirai are threatening to boycott the run-off because they know that they will lose heavily and as a face-saving gesture they are trying to avoid a run-off," he said.

But Mr Chamisa said it was not prudent for his party to write to ZEC withdrawing their candidature since the election body had not yet released the results.

Zanu-PF has indicated that it was preparing for a run-off after it emerged that none of the presidential candidates garnered the 50 percent plus one vote required for one to be duly declared winner.

There were also no absolute winners in the House of Assembly and Senate elections in which Zanu-PF and the MDC-T were neck-and-neck.

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