I wanted to take power by force: Tsvangirai
Posted: Friday, October 21, 2011
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October 21, 2011
MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai says he thought of taking up arms to force himself into power after failing to outrightly win the 2008 presidential election.
Mr Tsvangirai said this in his recently published book: "Morgan Tsvangirai: At The Deep End" that he was surprised to learn there was going to be a presidential election run-off.
"For a moment I did not know what to do," he said. "I had no arms of war. I lacked the necessary wherewithal to force myself into power to fulfil the people's wish."
Mr Tsvangirai got 47,9 percent of the vote in the first round when the Electoral Act required one to garner more than 50 percent to be declared a winner.
President Mugabe got 43,2 percent while Mr Simba Makoni was third with 8,3 percent.
Little-known Langton Towungana was a distant fourth on 0.6 percent.
The failure by any of the candidates to get the required majority vote meant there was going to be a run-off between President Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai.
But Mr Tsvangirai said he was not aware of the provisions of the Electoral Act.
"What was this run-off business all about?" said Mr Tsvangirai, adding: "I was unaware that the law had been changed to deny a winner without 50 percent plus one vote to take over government.
"It must have slipped my mind at the time when it went through Parliament. I did not know that in such an event, a run-off would be needed between the two leading candidates."
Mr Tsvangirai said he had already formed a government.
The Electoral Act says: "(3) Where two or more candidates for President are nominated, and after a poll taken in terms of subsection (2) no candidate receives a majority of the total number of valid votes cast, a second election shall be held within 21 days after the previous election in accordance with this Act."
Analysts said it is surprising that Mr Tsvangirai was not aware of the run-off yet some senior members of his party like secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti were talking about it at the time.
In fact, Mr Tsvangirai says in his book that Mr Biti announced him a winner well before the election results were made public and said there was no need for a run-off.
University of Zimbabwe lecturer Professor John Makumbe blamed lawyers who are members of MDC-T for failing to advise Mr Tsvangirai appropriately.
He said the lawyers in MDC-T should be embarrassed by Mr Tsvangirai's revelations.
"It's not all people who read the Constitution and understand it," said Prof Makumbe.
"Tsvangirai is surrounded by lawyers. How could they not advise him that there is a possibility of a two-stage election?"
A political analyst, Mr Goodwine Mureriwa said: The ignorance that Tsvangirai displays is amazing. We are a very educated nation and cannot expect to be led by a person who does not mind to study the consequences of a major event like an election that he participates in."
Mr Mureriwa said Mr Tsvangirai was expected to have acquired experience from his time at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions even if he "did not attain higher educational qualifications".
Another political analyst, Mr Alexander Kanengoni, said it was shocking that Mr Tsvangirai did not know of such a fundamental law governing presidential elections.
"It is surprising that he did not know about that," he said.
"People will not deny it if he is said to be of low intellect because he is admitting it by failing to study provisions of a law in which he is an interested party."
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said Mr Tsvangirai was being sincere that he did not know of the provisions of the Electoral Act.
"As you can see that his book is a memoir and people tell the truth about their lives in such books," he said.
"The idea is not to pretend what you are not. Perhaps he was not advised about the necessary clauses."
The provisions for a run-off were introduced into the Electoral Act in 2004, with the full participation of Members of Parliament from MDC.
With five days to go to voting day, Mr Tsvangirai announced that he was boycotting the presidential run-off held on June 27, 2008 after claiming that his supporters were being harassed.
His announcement was, however, declared a legal nullity since the election had started in earnest and the poll was held and won by President Mugabe.
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