Opposition still fighting for election re-run

Despite President Robert Mugabe's consolidation of power in Zimbabwe, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has not given up its fight to force a re-run of the March presidential election.

However, reports that the opposition plan to use mass action and stayaways to force a re-run of the election appear to have put the MDC on the back foot.

When approached by IRIN, MDC media officer Percy Makombe, said: "We will not be commenting on this mass action as this will only pre-empt it. [Suffice to say that] there are things that are being done to address the issue of the stolen election."

MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube, however, was more forthcoming.

He said it was clear Zimbabweans would have to solve their own problems as the European Union appeared to have bought "[South African President Thabo] Mbeki's red herring of African solutions to African problems".

He said: "We are still consulting on what to do within the party, with other stakeholders, the trade unions, women's organisations, human rights organisations. We have been doing that for over a month, going to grass roots levels, asking what form of action we should take. Should it be mass action or stayaway etcetera, that is yet to be resolved.

"Action will be taken because we have not accepted the result, but we cannot say when and what."

A stayaway campaign attempted by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, shortly after the March election, was by most accounts a failure. Ncube said the MDC plans to make sure there was buy-in from "the grass roots" before a course of action was decided.

Meanwhile, the MDC continued to lobby governments and ruling parties throughout the region and continent. Said Ncube: "We are sensitising them and impressing upon them that the Zimbabwe crisis will not be wished away. It will not go away unless they address the fundamentals of that crisis. We have been to South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso. We are yet to go to Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Malawi and so on.

"Basically, we think it is the Africans who let us down quite badly over the last 18 months and they must share some of the responsibility for what has happened in Zimbabwe, they thought by standing with Mugabe they could end the crisis."

Ncube contended that as most of the region and Africa had recognised President Robert Mugabe's victory in the March election, which the European Union, the United States and Commonwealth believed was neither free nor fair, they cannot be charged with solving Zimbabwe's political and consequent economic and humanitarian crises.

He said: "The so-called African solution to African problems is being led by countries who do not think there is a problem ... they say Mugabe won the election and the results are legitimate, so what problem are they going to solve?

"Ultimately, the responsibility for charting the way forward rests with us in Zimbabwe ... the people of Zimbabwe will confront their problems, one way or another."