Zimbabwe could be heading for another disputed election. Although Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said “our faith in God and our collective desire for real transformation will make us triumph over the setbacks” he said he did not think the coming election would be legitimate.
In remarks that appeared not to be in his written speech but were captured on video the Movement for Democratic Change leader said: “Mugabe ne ZANU PF think that they will win it, but in the face of un-free and unfair conditions I don’t think the forthcoming election will be legitimate. It doesn’t matter who wins.”
It was therefore not clear whether he will not consider himself the legitimate Head of State if he wins the presidential race which he won in the first round in 2008.
The MDC has been fighting on two fronts in the current elections, using a strategy which it used in 2005- preparing to win but at the same time with a Plan B to discredit the elections if it lost.
The MDC, the strongest opposition party in Zimbabwe’s history both prior and after independence, has disputed every elections it has contested so far.
It disputed the 2000 elections where it won 57 seats saying it had actually won but had been robbed by ZANU-PF.
Two years later, it disputed the 2002 presidential elections where Tsvangirai lost to Mugabe and accused ZANU-PF of stealing the election.
It disputed the 2005 elections but was soon engulfed in a split that diverted its focus on ZANU-PF.
It also disputed the presidential elections of 2008 claiming that Mugabe had rigged the results because Tsvangirai had won outright in the first round.
The party had its own election monitoring and anti-rigging machinery but failed to prove its case.