PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is using constant election talk as a ruse to prevent Zanu PF from discussing his succession, with the unintended consequence of the ploy being the scaring away of investors and sluggish economic growth, MDC leader Welshman Ncube .
In a wide-ranging interview in which he spoke about his relationship with Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, their continued support for Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, the stalled constitution-making process and his prospects in the next elections, Ncube said he did not anticipate polls in March as repeatedly claimed by Mugabe.
Ncube suggested Mugabe may not be serious about early polls given that he has been calling for elections "tomorrow" since 2010.
"Mugabe has said to us there will be an election every year for the last two years," said Ncube.
"There should have been an election before the end of last year. There was supposed to be an election before the end of this year; now there is supposed to be an election no later than March next year ... Look, there is a method to that madness and the method is simply to say if I'm having an election around the corner there is no issue about who is the Zanu PF candidate."
Ncube said Mugabe's antics had kept the country's economy stagnant for the past three years as investors adopt a wait-and-see attitude.
"It is a damaging and selfish strategy to make sure the economy does not grow so that others do not get the credit. So you can go into an election and say all these others have also been in government with me but they also failed."
Given outstanding processes needing completion before polls, Ncube said it is likely elections would be held around June 2012. He confirmed he would contest the presidential poll, but would not forge alliances with the MDC-T out of which his formation split in 2005 because the MDC-T reneged on an electoral pact on the eve of the 2008 harmonised elections.
Although he did not share the same values, policies and ideology with Tsvangirai, Ncube said he had a good working relationship with him in government. He had also managed to find "comfort zones" to work together with Mugabe on government business despite having a "disrespectful disagreement" over the way Mugabe had handled the principals' issue.
Ncube insisted Mugabe and Tsvangirai were interfering in the internal affairs of his party by disregarding a High Court ruling and the Sadc Maputo resolution which declared Mutambara was not a principal.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai's argument that the matter was still in court after Mutambara's appeal to the Supreme Court does not hold water because the High Court judgment stands until the Supreme Court rules otherwise, said Ncube.
"If they didn't want to interfere in the internal affairs of MDC, they would accept our communication from the party that says the MDC had its congress and it elected so and so as its president ...," he said.
"Read (Justice) Kamocha's judgment; it's clear that the legal position is that the congress is valid unless there is a court of law which has overturned it. So what Mugabe and Tsvangirai have done is to say the congress is invalid unless and until the matter is finalised in the Supreme Court."
Ncube also said Tsvangirai was shooting himself in the foot by siding with Mugabe, who want a dysfunctional government so he could implement very little of the Global Political Agreement.