Zimbabwe: I Am Not Finished Yet, Says Tsvangirai

Harare — MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he is not finished, vowing to use other political means to invalidate the July 31 elections.

This followed his withdrawal of the Constitutional Court petition challenging President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF's resounding win which he attributed to massive rigging.

Tsvangirai surprised many when he withdrew his ConCourt poll petition on Friday night, citing the non-availability of crucial vote material which formed the basis of his court challenge.

But Tsvangirai yesterday said all was not over despite the withdrawal of the petition as the MDC-T would now take the fight to reverse the electoral outcome to the political and diplomatic arenas.

"Many of you have been made to believe that this marks the end of the road for us, that by withdrawing the court case, we have conceded defeat," Tsvangirai posted on his Facebook page yesterday.

"Nothing could be further from the truth. The struggle has not ended. It is just starting. We have never closed our avenue to continue with the political struggle. This is a political crisis and it requires a political solution."

Tsvangirai said he still enjoyed the mandate of his party as well as the support of "millions of people who voted for change" on July 31.

"Using that mandate, I will continue serving the people until we achieve the desired results," he said.

Tsvangirai said Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had narrowed down the petition to one based on affidavits, yet he wanted to call witnesses to lead evidence on how the elections had been rigged.

"Because of those two roadblocks placed our way, it was futile to proceed with the case," he said. "It became very clear to us that this case was being predetermined."

MDC-T spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora said the party had no option but to take the fight to the political and diplomatic arena, as the legal route would have caused "injustices".

He said the "political struggle" would involve peaceful and democratic means.

"We will apply political pressures guaranteed and protected in the constitution," said the MDC-T spokesperson.

Pressed on what the "political struggle" entailed, Mwonzora could only say "Read the constitution. It's clearly spelt out."

He said, on the diplomatic front, the MDC-T was lobbying a number of heads of states, including those at the Sadc summit which ends today in Malawi.

"We will approach Sadc and the African Union [AU] and we are going to provide them with evidence [that the election was rigged]. We will increase political pressure. We are not going to give up," he said.,

Mwonzora said Tsvangirai would continue with his consultations of the party provincial councils with the latest one he visited being Manicaland.

He said the consultations would soon be taken to the district and branch levels.

"What is critical is that the president [Tsvangirai]'s message is of peace. There is unanimity that elections were stolen," said the MDC-T spokesperson.

Mwonzora said the MDC-T did not know why Justice Chidyausiku has summoned Tsvangirai, Mugabe and ZEC lawyers to appear before him tomorrow following the withdrawal of the petition.

He said his party would stand by its decision to withdraw Tsvangirai's poll petition.

The source said MDC-T would also approach the Sadc Tribunal, which will be set up within the next two weeks, with the hope that it can also deal with the matter.

There have been suggestions that behind the scenes talks have started, with the aim of starting formal talks between Mugabe's Zanu PF and the MDC-T.

Tsvangirai has, however, said he is snubbing all Zanu PF overtures and will not join in on a new government of national unity.

'Tsvangirai can use civil disobedience'

A close confidante to the outgoing Premier said the court challenge had been withdrawn on the realisation that this was not a legal problem but rather a political one.

"This is a political issue and not a legal one," the confidante said. "The political onslaught should have commenced when Sadc directed the parties to go back to the Constitutional Court following the Mawarire hearing."

The source said the legal route was not tenable, as it could be overtaken by political dynamics.

The source said peaceful civil disobedience was one of the approaches the MDC-T could follow in their quest to seek political change.

"The new Constitution explicitly guarantees freedom of assembly and freedom to petition, so civil disobedience can be used so that they are heard," the confidante said.

"He [Tsvangirai] is a political leader and says he has people who follow him and he can show that by directing them on what to do."

However, Tsvangirai's previous attempts to force change through civil disobedience have been fruitless, particularly with the Final Push of 2003.

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