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Tsvangirai Aiming For Outright Presidential Victory

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says he is pulling out all the stops to win the next presidential election outright and avoid another unity arrangement that he says brings “paralysis”.

Both Mr. Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe have complained about the gridlocked coalition government formed in 2009 following the inconclusive election and the violent-ridden run-off in 2008.

“I won the last one, the only difference is that I did not win power," Tsvangirai told the Financial Times of Britain. "So, I am very confident that the support of the people is unwavering.”

Mr. Tsvangirai said he is also convinced that Mugabe will be willing to hand over power if he is defeated.

The 89-year-old leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since 1980, is on record vowing that he will never let power slip to the Movement for Democratic Change through the “stroke of the pen,” meaning the ballot.

But Mr. Tsvangirai said he doubts Mugabe will make good on his threats. "Mugabe is [almost] 90 years. The thing is that I am sure for him the most important motivating factor is legacy.”

But some observers say they doubt Mugabe and his Zanu PF party will relinquish power if they lose the election.

Political analyst and Nango chairman, Effie Dlela Ncube told VOA that Tsvangirai’s statement may be an indirect appeal to the president to concede if he is defeated.

"I think this is an olive branch to President Mugabe to say 'well, let's have an election that is free and fair' and that whoever loses the election should concede," Ncube commented.