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MDC to call for early elections or coalition government

Although the Movement for Democratic Change, which won 57 of the 120 contested seats in the general elections in June refused to be part of the present government insisting it will operate as the opposition, party leader Morgan Tsvangirai says his party will call for early elections or a coalition government if it wins some of the contested seats and forms a majority. The MDC is contesting the results in nearly 30 seats and only needs to win four of these to constitute an elected majority.

Tsvangirai told South African business people that if his party won some of the contested seats and formed a majority, there would be a constitutional crisis as a president of the minority party would have appointed the government. “It would then be vitally important to bring the 2002 presidential elections forward.  Alternatively, we would have to negotiate a coalition government for the two years until the presidential election,” he was quoted as saying.

It is not clear how the MDC would fit in, in the new arrangement since Tsvangirai himself is not a Member of Parliament.

In an interview with The Insider before the elections, he said President Robert Mugabe might have to appoint a vice-President from the MDC and the vice-President would be the head of government. Calling Mugabe a “national liability”, Tsvangirai said that reports that Mugabe was ready to retire were good news because the country was not going to move forward under his leadership.

He said even if he decided to stay on, Mugabe would not last until the 2002 presidential election if the present economic trend continued.

Tsvangirai, however, said his party would not use Zimbabwe’s economic plight as a weapon against ZANU-PF.

“We are all faced with the same problem, an economy in meltdown and we have to tackle it in a spirit of unity,” he said. He said he would ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other donor agencies to reactivate their suspended economic assistance programmes for Zimbabwe because the economy would not last more six months unless the country received international aid.

Similar sentiments were expressed by new Industry and International Trade Minister Nkosana Moyo. He said Zimbabwe could not reverse its economic decline without the release of suspended aid.

“We have got to find a way of working with the IMF in whatever format because I don’t think we have got the resources now to kickstart this economy without doing that. That is absolutely critical and urgent,” Moyo said.

Moyo is one of the businessmen appointed by President Mugabe to resuscitate the country’s ailing economy.

Although the new cabinet consists of technocrats and businessmen who have been hailed by the business community as “business friendly”, there are fears that they might not be effective because they may be overruled by Mugabe or the party’s politburo.

Moyo has however told the media that Mugabe had promised him a free rein in his sphere of influence. Moyo would be working closely with new Finance Minister, Simba Makoni who was sworn in almost a week after other cabinet ministers.

This delay had sparked debate as to whether Makoni would accept the new post or not throwing confusion into a market that has been robbed of confidence. An IMF team is expected in Zimbabwe next month for talks on how the stalled aid programme can be revived.

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