Zim MPs divided over boycotting parliament

Copy of ND MORGAN T REUTERS Zimbabwes Morgan Tsvangirai gestures during a media briefing in Harare at the weekend. Tsvangirais Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will challenge in court the election victory by President Robert Mugabes Zanu-PF party. The MDC rejects the poll result as a fraud, MDC leader Tsvangirai said on Saturday.

Harare - Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) already crushed in last week’s election is sharply divided over whether or not to boycott parliament.

Many MDC-T MPs who won their seats are resisting calls by their colleagues to boycott parliament when it resumes.

The MDC–T was trounced in the election last week by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, which won 160 seats – well more than two thirds of the 210 seats in Parliament – to 49 for the MDC-T.

In 2008, MDC-T won 100 parliamentary seats to Zanu-PF’s 99 seats, and the smaller MDC, now led by Welshman Ncube, won 8. His party failed to win a single seat last week.

Tsvangirai was also crushed by Mugabe in the presidential election by 61 to 34 percent according to official results, but he has declared the elections a massive fraud and his party is preparing to ask the Constitutional Court to annul the presidential and parliamentary results and to hold new elections.

In sharp contrast with the South African government, the Botswana government has called for an independent audit of the elections, which it said did not meet “an acceptable standard for free and fair elections in SADC”.

Botswana also called for concerns about the elections to be discussed at the next summit of the SADC (the Southern African Development Community) in Malawi on August 17.

The first reaction to the shocking results of the election from many MDC-T MPs was that the party should walk away from parliament and that those who won seats should refuse to take them up.

Now others, especially those who won seats, are saying that is the wrong thing to do. Even some of those who lost their seats believe the party should go to parliament as party officials are gathering evidence for the court challenge to the result.

New Zimbabwe.com, one of the more reliable web publications in Zimbabwe, reported today that the issue of whether or not to boycott parliament risks fracturing the battered MDC-T even further. Several of the party’s newly-elected MPs have already insisted that nothing would stop them from representing their constituents.

Bulawayo organising secretary, Albert Mhlanga, who won the seat for Pumula Constituency, said the leadership would meet soon to make a final decision on the matter.

– Independent Foreign Service



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