Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has ruled out polls in his country before a new constitution is in place. Tsvangirai said elections would only be held under conditions which would be accepted by regional leaders. Tsvangirai released a document Thursday outlining the conditions in which his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would take part in elections. Describing 2012 as a “watershed year,” the prime minister said Zimbabweans do not want more violent elections like the ones that happened three years ago. In 2008, violence erupted after Mugabe lost the first round of presidential polls to Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai said his party still has memories of those polls, when about 200 supporters of his MDC party were killed while several thousand were displaced or injured.
“The experience of disputed elections accompanied by needless loss of blood in Kenya, in Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast cannot be repeated,” he said. “We are not afraid of elections. But we are not going to participate in a war. It is because of this that the MDC will not be stampeded into a sham election.”
Besides avoiding violence, Tsvangirai said he wants a new constitution after the completion of democratic reforms, including repealing tough laws and allowing free media in Zimbabwe. Mugabe last month said he would use his powers to ensure that polls are held this year even without a new constitution. Without mentioning anyone, Tsvangirai repeated Mugabe’s words and then said: