After pyrrhic victory, Tsvangirai must form a coalition
The final tally is historic because for the first time in 28 years, Zanu PF has lost control of the House of Assembly. Of the 210 seats contested Zanu PF won 97 seats, the MDC (Tsvangirai) 99, the MDC (Mutambara) 10 and an independent 1. The remaining 3 seats will require by elections because candidates contesting those seats died (of natural causes) during the election. All three are likely to be won by either the MDC (Tsvangirai) or ourselves, the MDC (Mutambara).
The tortuous process implemented by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) this week to announce the results is unacceptable. Four days after the closure of the polls we, were nowhere near receiving all of the results.
I knew at 4am on Sunday morning, nine hours after the polls had closed, that I had won the Khumalo Senatorial seat. I was formally declared a duly elected member of the Senate at 12.30pm Sunday by the Constituency Elections Officer, in terms of the Electoral Act.
I won by such a wide majority (1944 votes) that there was never any prospect of the result being challenged. Despite that, four days on my election has still not been announced by the ZEC.
The same applies to the all important Presidential race. The Herald curiously appeared to have the results of this race in midweek because it announced confidently that no candidate is likely to get the absolute majority required to win.
The MDC (Tsvangirai) responded by announcing its own result, based on original polling station returns, giving Morgan Tsvangirai an absolute majority of 50,3%. I cannot comment on how accurate that is and note that Robyn Dixon, writing in the LA Times, says that the MDC (Tsvangirai) made an error in calculation and that on their own figures, Morgan Tsvangirai’s tally is less than the 50% required.
However, whether the final tally in the Presidential race is 49% or 50,3% this is in fact irrelevant because all that lower figure means is that we will have to wait a further three weeks to see the end of Robert Mugabe’s rule.
It is obvious that all democrats must rally around the candidacy of Morgan Tsvangirai in the run-off and if we all do, then Robert Mugabe stands to be annihilated and indeed humiliated. Not only will he face a single opponent but all the momentum is now with the MDC (I use that word in the collective sense).
Robert Mugabe has already gerrymandered, has already given out all the taxpayers’ tractors and ploughs and has already tried to use food as weapon. In other words, he has nothing further to bribe or intimidate the electorate with. They rejected these methods in the general election and there is no doubt they will reject them even more forcefully in the run-off.
However, I hope that there will now be some sober reflection in the MDC (Tsvangirai). The sad reality is that their failure to agree on a coalition has undermined the opposition’s victory. In at least eight House of Assembly constituencies we handed victory to Zanu PF by dividing the vote.
In several others, we only narrowly avoided doing the same again. At the same time many of the opposition’s best MPs such as Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube, Paul Themba Nyathi, and Trudy Stevenson lost and will not be in the new Parliament. We have lost their experience, integrity and expertise – qualities we will sorely need as we seek to rebuild Zimbabwe and to turn Parliament into a genuinely democratic institution.
But most seriously in the Presidential vote, the failure to agree the coalition agreement, so painstakingly negotiated by many of us, has opened up the possibility of a rerun which would have been impossible had the 7% of voters who voted for the MDC and the candidate it endorsed, Simba Makoni, voted for Morgan Tsvangirai.
In short the, MDC (Tsvangirai) must acknowledge that it has enjoyed a pyrrhic victory in many respects. All is not lost as we can still win the Presidential election in the rerun.
However, it is
now incumbent upon the MDC (Tsvangirai) to build a broad and effective
coalition. For this to be achieved, it must be prepared to bring into
its team some of those who lost in the House of Assembly election and
who have so much to offer Zimbabwe. It must also be prepared to accommodate
some of the legitimate policy concerns expressed by those of us in the
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