ZIMBABWE – MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has revealed that many diplomats were of the view that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa is a pragmatist and reformist who can take the country forward if he succeeds President Robert Mugabe.
But Tsvangirai told journalists in Harare yesterday that Mnangagwa’s statements supporting the barring of the United Nations from monitoring elections could be confirmation he was a hardliner.
“I was with one of the ambassadors who was talking about Mnangagwa being a pragmatist, but I said he is a pragmatist on other issues, but a hardliner on issues of governance and democracy,” he said.
“Mnangagwa’s statement confirms that he is a hardliner, he has always been and not the reformist and pragmatist that some in the diplomatic community have begun to think he is.”
Although the former Premier did not divulge the names of the diplomats who now have confidence in Mnangagwa, sources said the Chinese and Western countries were now preparing for a possible Mnangagwa-led Zimbabwe government.
Tsvangirai also said Mugabe was serious when he told last week’s African Union (AU) Summit in Ethiopia that he would die in office.
“We in the MDC have no intention to join in their debate as the man declared at the recent AU summit that he will die in office. So we all know that instead of fighting for succession, let’s wait until he dies,” Tsvangirai said.
“That’s what he said. He said I am going to die in office, it’s no longer a secret, it’s no longer speculation, he has made a declaration.”
Asked why his party would participate in elections after Mugabe’s declaration, Tsvangirai said: “Our issue is not whether he is dead or alive, but having conditions for free and fair elections. That’s our yardstick. I don’t believe it’s fair to wish someone to die.
“People think things will be well if Mugabe dies, but it is a system and that is what we need to transform or we have more of the same whether it’s Mnangagwa or (former Vice-President Joice) Mujuru.”
Tsvangirai said currently there were no talks of a coalition with Mujuru as she was yet to form a party.
However, Tsvangirai stressed the need for all opposition forces to form a coalition to challenge Mugabe in 2018.
He said opposition parties were failing to find each other because of petty squabbles and hatred of personalities, adding that should not distract people from their patriotic responsibility.