Friday, August 16, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) The West has betrayed us: Tsvangirai
26/07/2013 00:00:00
by Nkosana Dlamini

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Friday that he felt betrayed by his erstwhile backers in the West who seem to have given up on actively seeking to topple President Robert Mugabe and appear to be prepared to work with him should he win next week’s elections.

“There has been a movement, l want to say and l want to take note of that,” Tsvangirai told journalists at an MDC-T press briefing in Harare on Friday.

“For some years, there has been a movement towards democratic precondition. But people get tired of the Zimbabwean issue so what do they do? They resign and they say stability is better than democracy and any form of accommodation of normalising ‘our relations with Zimbabwe by whatever means, we will do it’.”

Tsvangirai, who was responding to a question from a British journalist, did not elaborate on how he felt he was being abandoned; neither did he mention the countries he feels have betrayed him.

Western frustration with Tsvangirai was first revealed by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks when it published a 2011 diplomatic cable from the US embassy in Harare to Washington which described the MDC-T leader as “a weak leader who cannot be relied upon to lead a country like Zimbabwe”.

Added to that, reports of widespread corruption among the MDC-T top leadership as well as in local authorities run by the party could not have helped the MDC-T leader’s standing with the his Western backers.

And, if that were not bad enough, the sex scandals which emerged last year ahead of Tsvangirai’s marriage to Elizabeth Macheka would certainly have deepened the West’s sense of dismay with the man they once saw as the best hope for democracy in the country.

Although the European Union (EU) and countries such as Australia have stopped short of completely lifting sanctions imposed against Mugabe and his inner circle about a decade ago, most of the measures have been suspended while the Obama administration in the United States has, this year, dispatched top envoys such as Andrew Young to meet Mugabe in definite signs of a rapprochement.

Tsvangirai said the US and Europe were now willing to accept a Mugabe victory despite what he described as clear evidence the Zanu PF leader was engaged in election fraud.

“That’s an opportunistic position because you cannot as a democrat legitimise the illegitimate and l want to say this; whether the whole world endorses the outcome and say Robert Mugabe has won, the people will know the truth and it is the world that would have turned a blind eye to the wishes of the people of this country,” said the MDC-T leader.

“l want to tell you ultimately the wishes of the people will prevail. It may not matter how long it takes but l want to tell you at the end of the day it is the people who will definitely be the victors. Not some shenanigan, not some dictator somewhere and not the international community.

“We need the international community of course but the international community must do the right thing; must stay with the people, must continue to say the people of Zimbabwe need their voice to be heard. That is the more legitimate position.”

Despite his reservations about the playing field and the role of the West, Tsvangirai was adamant he would romp to victory in the July 31 poll.

“Actually, I am very bullish about the outcome of this election. It will indicate to you how resilient the people of Zimbabwe are. Indeed it will surprise you that in spite of the violence, the shenanigans that are taking place,” he said.

“Why would Zanu PF invest in rigging an election rather than invest in making sure that we have a credible outcome. This just goes to show that Zanu PF cannot win has never won an election, but they have found ways of retaining power against the people’s wishes, that is not democracy. I actually feel emboldened by the fact that we have resisted this dictatorship for all these years using democratic means.”

Tsvangirai insisted Mugabe had laid out an elaborate strategy to rig the watershed election and called on Zimbabweans to vote overwhelmingly against the 89-year-old leader.

He outlined several examples he said were being used by his rival to influence the outcome of the election, among them the “militarise” the electoral system, the intimidation of his followers by Zanu PF and the inflation of ballot paper printing.

Tsvangirai said the credibility of next week’s election was at great risk and called this a “sad day”.

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