In a u-turn aimed at preventing a potential split within the party, the MDC-T has reportedly decided to participate in the next government, by allowing winners from last week’s disputed election to take up their posts.
According to the independent Newsday newspaper, mixed opinions were expressed in a heated meeting of the National Council at the weekend, where it was resolved that the party would boycott taking part in any form of government.
But after another meeting Thursday Tsvangirai made a u-turn in order to “guard the party’s zones of autonomy”. Newsday said Tsvangirai, who is also the outgoing Prime Minister, told the winning candidates to “protect” their victory in parliamentary and council elections.
The paper, quoting “impeccable sources”, said Tsvangirai had met with the Harare Provincial Council of the MDC-T, to whom he “emphasised the need for peace” while his party pursued legal channels to nullify the “stolen election”.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka, is reported to have confirmed Thursday’s meeting but would not be drawn to reveal details of what they discussed. But an un-named source told the paper: “There is a huge difference between levels of government and levels of State. Parliament and council are levels of State. The Prime Minister wants us to guard our zones of autonomy in Parliament and councils. We will not be part of Cabinet and parastatals, among other government institutions.”
It was not possible to get through to anyone in the MDC-T to comment, but many Zimbabweans on social media sites have reacted to this alleged change of tactic. There appears to be a consensus on Facebook that joining the next government in any way legitimizes the same election results that the MDC-T is challenging.
Political commentator Lameck Mahachi agreed. He told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the MDC-T would be “mixing oil and water” by participating in any form of government while challenging its legitimacy.
“It would be pointless because they would have no power anyway in parliament given ZANU PF’s two-thirds majority. They had no power even when they were part of the GNU so how could they have any now when ZANU PF can just use their numbers to change the constitution,” Mahachi explained.
Meanwhile the MDC-T will continue to prepare court papers challenging the credibility of the landslide victory claimed by Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF.