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Fresh Elections 'Only Way Out' for Country, Says Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

Published on Monday 15th February 2010 Fresh Elections 'Only Way Out' for Country, Says Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has given the clearest indication that his party is preparing for fresh elections when he hinted they were prepared to 'park' outstanding issues in the GPA and go for a poll.

The MDC leader told the Zimbabwe Independent that outstanding issues should not inhibit progress and that they were waiting for a report from the negotiators to brief them on the status of the talks.

"If there are any outstanding issues we will park them and proceed," Tsvangirai said in an interview with the weekly paper. SW Radio Africa understands that party negotiators Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma presented their report to the party's national executive this week confirming the talks have not progressed since last year, and were as good as dead.

Tsvangirai's position on elections was reiterated by party spokesman Nelson Chamisa at a press conference in Harare on Friday. Chamisa said the MDC wants fresh elections if the current logjam in talks between their party and ZANU PF persist.

"In our view it's a deadlock. We realise there is disenchantment among the people. The people would want to see finality to these issues. If the deadlock persists then our trajectory is to have free and fair elections," Chamisa said.

He added; "ZANU-PF are trying to employ the tool of delaying so that we continue to talk about talks until Christmas. We need to put a full-stop to negotiations."

Following a series of consultations between SADC member states, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa reportedly told Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara that regional leaders were in favour of having an election to end the country's political impasse.

A source told us the MDC was ready to temporarily 'park' pursuing the issues of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and Reserve bank Governor Gideon Gono if the three principals could expedite the implementation of issues already agreed upon by the three parties to the GPA.

"The MDC are not going to ditch their demands for Roy Bennett to be sworn into government, but they are simply saying lets implement what has been agreed to allow the government to move forward," our source said.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara in May last year reached an agreement on the appointment of governors and ambassadors from the two MDC formations. They agreed that the governors would be appointed on the basis of the March 2008 House of Assembly election results.

MDC-T would appoint governors in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Masvingo, Harare and Manicaland, while MDC-M would have a resident minister in Matabeleland South and ZANU PF would retain governors in Midlands, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central.

The MDC-T announced in May that it would appoint former women's assembly Chairperson Lucia Matibenga as governor of Masvingo, while Seiso Moyo will become Governor of Bulawayo. Former trade unionist and senator James Makore was to become governor of Harare, Tose Sansole would be governor of Matabeleland North, while Mutare businessman Julius Magarangoma would be the new governor for Manicaland.

MDC-M has not yet named its candidate for Matabeleland South, but former MP for Gwanda Paul Themba Nyathi is still tipped to occupy the office. Meanwhile, the five ambassadors nominated by the MDC formations to represent the country abroad have been assigned mission stations and were to be deployed to their bases in December last year. But they're still stuck in Harare waiting for the implementation of their postings, which is part of the GPA.

Ambassadors Hebson Makuvise, Hilda Suka-Mafudze, Jacqueline Nomhla Zwambila, Mabed Khumbulani from MDC-T and MDC's Getrude Stevenson-Dickey completed a three months diplomatic training in October last year. Makuvise has been assigned to Germany, Zwambila to Australia, Mafudze will be in Sudan, and Khumbulani has been posted to Nigeria, while Stevenson is going to Senegal.

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