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Tsvangirai Calls For Fresh Political Dialogue in Zimbabwe

President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the constitution signing ceremony last year.
Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday called for a fresh political dialogue in the country to resolve the dispute he says was created by last year’s national elections that saw President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party winning a parliamentary majority.

Presenting his state of the nation address at a local hotel here in Harare, Tsvangirai said fresh negotiations were the only way out of the economic and political crisis facing the country – a situation he says was created by the disputed elections. He adds the gains made during the four-year inclusive government have been eroded since Mr. Mugabe regained an upper hand in the country’s political system.

“Six months after the July 31 event, the national economy is bleeding as Zimbabweans come to terms with the reality of yet another stolen election,” said Tsvangirai.” Our erstwhile colleagues in government have violated the national faith and trust in the human spirit. Even after we took a bold decision to rescue the people from the brink in 2008, they repaid us by subverting the will of the people and heading for the precipice with the whole nation’s fate on their back.”

“The true results of that election are the difficulties we face today, not the fudged figures announced in August 2013.”

He said the Southern African Development Community and the African Union prematurely endorsed the polls that were described by the West as being fundamentally flawed.

Tsvangirai said fresh polls should only be conducted after key democratic reforms have been implemented adding that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should be transformed into a truly independent body before any polls are conducted.

“It is important to appreciate that the underlying cause of our current predicament is the disputed election,” the MDC leader said. “The solution is unconditional dialogue. But that dialogue must be cognizant of the inherent mistrust created by Zanu PF in the days of the inclusive government.”

As MDC, Tsvangirai said, we believe that meeting of stakeholders from different backgrounds would be a positive start.

He also called for the reform of the country’s economic policies and laws such as the controversial indigenization one to allow the economy to grow as well as attracting foreign direct investment.

“It is our hope that we must have a government that inspires confidence nationally and internationally to encourage Foreign Direct Investment and Overseas Development Assistance,” said Tsvangirai.

“We need as a country to review our economic policies so as to attract investment, empower the people through job creation and kick-starting production to ensure economic growth.”

Tsvangirai accused President Mugabe of not having the interest of Zimbabweans at heart, citing his cabinet’s failure to meet so far this year even in the midst of the country’s poor economic performance. The cabinet in Zimbabwe only meets in the presence of Mr. Mugabe who chairs the meetings every Tuesday.

Tsvangirai also called on authorities to give the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission teeth to execute its mandate saying graft is also affecting the country’s economic growth.