MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said his party may participate in the forthcoming by-election to fill the seat left vacant after the death of Gweru Deputy Mayor, Councillor Artwell Matyorauta.
The party, after losing the 2013 harmonised elections to Zanu-PF, vowed not to contest in future elections before “electoral reforms were effected.” However, in an interview after the burial of Matyorauta in Gweru, Tsvangirai said his party’s national executive was going to meet to reconsider its election boycott stance.
Earlier at Mtapa cemetery where Matyorauta was laid to rest, Gweru Mayor Clr Hamutendi Kombayi pleaded with Tsvangirai to reconsider the party’s stance on election boycott saying, “Clr Matyorauta was the party chairperson in the ward, he was the councillor and may you allow us to field a candidate in the forthcoming by-election. We can’t allow the seat to go to the baboons [an apparent reference to Zanu-PF].”
Asked to comment on Clr Kombayi’s plea, Tsvangirai said, “Well, it’s a party position that we boycott any elections in the country but we’re going to sit down as the national executive and consider participating in the forthcoming by-election.”
The MDC-T’s stance following the crushing defeat, according to party insiders, eroded its support – a reality which could be forcing the party to reconsider participating in future elections.
In Bulawayo alone, the MDC-T lost five parliamentary seats last year after the party fired the incumbents for rebelling against Tsvangirai. The sixth seat became vacant after the sitting MP died. Zanu PF won all six by-elections that MDC-T boycotted.
Tsvangirai said his party was planning more demonstrations across the country in the near future.
He said demonstrations were not an event adding that they would be holding them in the nine remaining provinces.
“We had a successful demonstration in Harare and we’re planning more across the country. We’ll be going to provinces before we hold a final bigger demonstration in Harare,” said Tsvangirai.
He said his party was not closing its doors on a coalition with other opposition parties.
Tsvangirai said at the moment, all the political parties were looking ahead to 2018- the election year, which he said should change the political landscape of the country.
He accused the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Saviour Kasukuwere of defying court orders and willy-nilly suspending councillors in urban councils.
“We’ve gone to court contesting the suspensions of our councillors and mayors by Kasukuwere, but he is defying the court orders. Kasukuwere wants to control all the urban councils run by MDC-T,” said Tsvangirai.
Matyorauta died on Tuesday after a long battle with a heart ailment. chronicle