A political deal brought Mr Tsvangirai into government in 2009 after Mr Mugabe claimed victory in a bitterly disputed presidential contest that cost hundreds of lives. But in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Tsvangirai said he was not willing to repeat the experience. As he prepares to run for the presidency against Mr Mugabe for a third time, he made clear that if he lost on July 31, he would refuse any invitation to stay on as prime minister. Calling the survival of the coalition a “regressive step”, Mr Tsvangirai insisted: “The people of Zimbabwe are desperate to start on a new plate and actually give proper direction and proper policy direction to revive this economy, give people hope and actually start all over again.” Mr Tsvangirai said that when he first became prime minister, he worked “very effectively” with Mr Mugabe. But the president broke off cooperation in the run-up to this year’s presidential poll.
In particular, Mr Mugabe announced the date of the election without consultation and failed to carry out agreed reforms designed to ensure a free and fair contest. The election was called “without other members of the coalition knowing what was taking place”, Mr Tsvangirai said.
He said that Mr Mugabe was “determined to retain power by whatever means”, adding: “It is definitely clear that the military is the one in charge of this process and that Mugabe’s government doesn’t believe in a free and fair vote.”
He accused the authorities of padding out the electoral roll with dead voters in order to create room for rigging. “From our analysis you have 100,000 people above the age of 100,” he said. “That number is definitely fictitious.”