from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE Zimbabwean government has pledged to honour the legacy of deceased former Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, by holding credible elections later this year.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, confirmed the move in his condolence message.
Mnangagwa praised the opposition leader for insisting on free, fair and non-violent elections as a way of deepening democracy in Zimbabwe and the country’s re-engagement with the international community.
“We all remember him (Tsvangirai) for his insistence on free, fair and peaceful elections, which we must validate in the forthcoming 2018 harmonised elections in tribute to him and our democracy,” the Zimbabwean president stated.
“This we owe him as political leaders of all contesting parties in our country, which deserves unfettered peace and stability.”
Mnangagwa disclosed he would soon invite opposition leaders for a day-long consultative meeting to ensure peaceful elections set for dates yet to be confirmed but likely between July and August.
The stance by Mnangagwa represents a shift from hostilities that characterised relations with Tsvangirai during his predecessor Robert Mugabe’s era.
The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was Zimbabwe’s foremost opponent of the repressive rule by Zanu-PF under Mugabe.
His longtime rival was deposed after the intervention of the military in November last year.
This paved way for the ascendancy of Mnangagwa.
In January, in a rare show of political maturity in the polarized country,the president (Mnangagwa) visited Tsvangirai, who battled colon cancer, at his Harare home before he sought treatment in South Africa.
Condolences were pouring following the demise of Tsvangirai.
“We mourn the sad passing on of an indefatigable fighter for peaceful democratic change in Zimbabwe, a political icon, a humble and tenacious fighter for the creation of a peaceful, stable, democratic and progressive nation state in Zimbabwe,” MDC spokesperson, Obert Gutu said.
Tendai Biti, Former Finance Minister and opposition collegue, said, “We are stunned. We are wordless. He was our father, our commander, our leader. He took body blows for all of us.”
Tsvangirai passed away on Wednesday aged 65.
– CAJ News