September 25, 2005

MDC to contest senate elections

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it will take part in the Senate polls due to be held before the end of the year. Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general told The Standard that there were differences between circumstances leading to the Senate elections and the 31 March Parliamentary elections. "There are fundamental differences between the March Parliamentary elections and the position we are in right now. It is very clear that the national council lifted the suspension on election participation and that position has not changed. The operative resolution of the council is that we are in the elections," Ncube said. He dismissed claims of divisions within the opposition party adding that having different views over certain issues does not mean that people are divided. "It is very democratic to have differing views so that we debate and try and convince those with contrary views why we think the other view is better and important. Right now we are encouraging the people to go and register," he said.

By participating in the elections other opposition MPs fear that they might be legitimising the ruling Zanu PF and its policies. Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson said: "There are a lot of things that we do that have been misconstrued as legitimising the government, yet it is not true. Anyone is entitled to arrive at his or her conclusion but the ultimate decision on whether the party should participate or not must come from within the party structures."

Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, had before confirmed that the Senate elections would be held before the end of the year. "Democracy is an expensive process and there is no ideal time for it to happen. We are going to conduct Senate elections by mid- December and those who can't make decisions now have themselves to blame," Chinamasa said. (The Zimbabwe Standard, Harare)

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