Da Mail & Guardian del 13/10/2005
Originale su http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=253536

Zim's MDC to boycott Senate elections

di Susan Njanji

Harare, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's main opposition on Wednesday announced it will boycott next month's polls to a newly created Upper House of Parliament, saying elections in the country are a farce and breed "illegitimate outcomes".

Morgan Tsvangirai, the feisty leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who has posed the biggest challenge to President Robert Mugabe's uninterrupted rule since 1980, said his was the deciding vote at the meeting of the council, the party's supreme decision-making body.

"After intense debate and discussion, whereupon the guiding question was whether we compromise with or take on the Zanu-PF dictatorship ... the council resolved to stay out of the Zanu-PF Senate project," Tsvangirai said, referring to Mugabe's ruling party.

Recalling the party's decision earlier this year to contest parliamentary elections with a "heavy heart" and knowing they would be rigged, Tsvangirai said democracy in Zimbabwe is still a farce.

"To this date, nothing has changed. The electoral management in Zimbabwe is still a recipe for political disaster ... [which] breeds illegitimate outcomes and provides for predetermined results."

The ruling Zanu-PF won 78 seats in the March parliamentary vote -- gaining a crucial two-thirds majority that allowed it to make constitutional changes on its own.

The MDC had slammed those elections as a "sham".

Tsvangirai said his party will "mount a national crusade against the Senate elections".

"The Senate project is fundamentally flawed and does not attend to the demands of a comprehensive resolution of the national crisis," he said. "The Senate idea is an expensive project we can ill afford when millions face starvation, when millions live in a shrinking economy."

Earlier, MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi had said the proposed Senate, which was approved by Mugabe as part of a slew of widely denounced constitutional reforms, was the "last nail in the coffin for what remains of democracy".

The MDC, which currently holds 41 seats in the 150-seat Parliament, has already dismissed the Upper House as a distraction from Zimbabwe's mounting economic and political troubles.

Elections to the Senate are due on November 26.

The governing Zanu-PF says the Senate will buttress legislative authority, but critics contend the move is aimed at further strengthening its stranglehold on Parliament, where it can already pass key decisions on its own.

The 66-member Upper House of Parliament will comprise 10 traditional chiefs, 50 elected senators and six appointed by Mugabe, and was created under a controversial constitutional amendment.

Other clauses in the controversial amendment include provisions barring white farmers from legally challenging land grabs and stopping government critics from going overseas.

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