5 August 2013

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Risks Party Revolt Over Parliament Boycott

Photo: MDC-T
Morgan Tsvangirai after casting his vote in Harare.

SOME of the newly elected MDC-T MPs have vowed to defy the party if it orders a boycott of Parliament to protest what the leadership has dismissed as a fraudulent election.

President Robert Mugabe won 61 percent of the vote against 34 percent for MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai. In the legislative vote, Mugabe's Zanu PF won 160 seats in the lower house against 49 for the MDC-T.

But the out-going premier has refused to accept his emphatic defeat and said his party would have nothing to do with the prospective Zanu PF government.

However, a threat to boycott Parliament risks fracturing the MDC-T as a number of the party's newly elected MPs have already insisted that nothing would stop them from representing their constituents.

Said one legislator: "Do not mention my name because I will be victimised. We are definitely going to parliament. What would be the use of winning an election if you do not take up the post you were contesting for?"

Another party MP described Tsvangirai as being selfish and unfair, adding that: "No one is going to boycott parliament, even those who tell you otherwise.

"Tsvangirai is just being naïve and selfish. It would be unfair for those of us who won and the electorate who voted for us. He should be concentrating on a court battle."

Still, the party's Bulawayo organising secretary Albert Mhlanga, who won the seat for Pumula Constituency, said the leadership would meet to make a final decision on the matter.

"The election is null and void and we do not recognise it. How can you go to parliament on a flawed election? The party leadership will soon be meeting to decide," said Mhlanga.

Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma has since said an MDC-T boycott would not affect business given the overwhelming majority garnered by Zanu PF.

He warned that if the MDC-T legislators failed to come to the house within the stipulated period, the legal provision dealing with declaring the seats vacant would be invoked.

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