The Herald (Harare)

28 March 2013

Zimbabwe: 'Tsvangirai Has Potential for Dictatorship'

MDC - T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has the potential for dictatorship if he gets into power because of the autocratic tendencies he has exhibited in the past,

National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Professor Lovemore Madhuku has said. Prof Madhuku who broke ranks with the MDC-T over the constitution-making process among other issues, said the fact that Mr Tsvangirai did not listen to dissenting voices was evidence enough that an MDC-T government would not listen to contrary views. Prof Madhuku was speaking at a discussion forum at Sapes Trust on Tuesday evening where together with MDC - T secretary general Mr Tendai Biti and Cde Goodwills Masimirembwa of Zanu-PF, they discussed the significance of the referendum voting patterns to the forthcoming harmonised elections.

Prof Madhuku's assertions dovetail with sentiments raised by MDC99 leader Mr Job Sikhala who is on record saying if Mr Tsvangirai laid his hands on instruments of the state he had the potential to chop people's heads off and stuff them in refrigerators if they disagreed with him.

Mr Sikhala said this soon after his expulsion from the MDC-T in the wake of repeated clashes with Mr Tsvangirai.

Sources at Harvest House also said the MDC-T's obsession with whittling down presidential powers during the constitution-making process stemmed from deep-seated fear that in the unlikely event Mr Tsvangirai landed the presidency, he would be intoxicated with power with disastrous consequences for the nation.

"Those who are in Government if they are in a stronger position they tend not to listen...this is what I discovered," he said."Even the MDC-T, for the referendum they were very sure that they would get a "Yes" vote. If you listen to the Prime Minister (Tsvangirai)'s campaign message he was like "who is this "No" voice? What for? We must move forward.

In other words (he was saying) "my position is the correct one... nothing must stand in its way, even if we should run the elections without ZEC it doesn't matter, even if we didn't give citizens enough time it doesn't matter, even if people have to go and vote "Yes" without reading anything (draft constitution) it doesn't matter because it is the position that is favoured.

"Prof Madhuku said the way the referendum was conducted exposed the MDC - T as it exhibited what it would do when voted into power."The referendum presents a very dangerous precedent to the way we would want to transform and make things move. The running of the referendum has dangerous signals of how our political leadership will behave when it thinks it is in a very powerful position and I suspect that this is the position that the MDC-T will take.

"Even if it were to get into office as long as they think they are in a stronger position they would not care much about the nitty-gritties of the democratic conditions that matter...citizens, no matter how unimportant they are; I think they deserve to be given space," said Prof Madhuku.Mr Biti remained mum while his leader and party were being decimated by Prof Madhuku.Prof Madhuku told the gathering that he looked into a possibility of forming a political party if the MDC-T failed to defeat Zanu-PF in harmonised elections set for this year.

During his referendum campaign messages Mr Tsvangirai described those who were opposed to the draft constitution as "nhinhi" (hard nuts to crack).Mr Tsvangirai came under fire from his party after he vetoed the majority view by the party national council in 2005 on whether to participate in the Senate elections.This was in contravention of the party's constitution.

The differences resulted in the party splitting into two with the faction now led by Professor Welshman Ncube participating in the Senate polls. MDC 99 leader Mr Job Sikhala in 2009 castigated Mr Tsvangirai for controversially amending the party's constitution to prolong his party leadership.It followed reports that Mr Tsvangirai had amended the party's constitution to allow him stay longer as supreme leader of the MDC-T despite losing elections to President Mugabe in 2002 and 2008, while his party has lost to Zanu-PF in several Local Government and general elections.

The development, Mr Sikhala said, was wrong as it did not reflect the very ideals of "democracy" under which the party was founded in 1999.Mr Sikhala said what Mr Tsvangirai did was total deviation and betrayal of people of Zimbabwe.

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