I wanted Tsvangirai to takeover: Mugabe

HARARE — Former State Security Minister Nicholas Goche reportedly conceded that President Robert Mugabe lost the 2008 presidential elections to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, according to the MDC leader’s recent memoirs.

The Transport Minister’s alleged statement is the first high-profile admission that ZANU PF bigwigs were reaching out to the then opposition leader after years of speculation and political insinuations.

The startling revelations are carried in Tsvangirai’s book, At the Deep End. In the elections, Tsvangirai polled 47,8 percent trouncing Mugabe who received 43,3 percent.

After a month of confusion waiting for results, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) commission confirmed that Tsvangirai had beaten Mugabe but the percentage was not enough for him to take over presidency.

A run-off was, therefore, to be held but Tsvangirai refused to participate due to extreme violence which left more than 200 of his supporters dead.

Mugabe went on to participate in a one-man election which was dismissed by the entire world as a sham. SADC was forced to intervene and forced Mugabe and Tsvangirai into a power-sharing arrangement in 2009.

The revelations in Tsvangirai’s book appear to suggest that in the first few weeks after the elections, Mugabe had already conceded defeat and was working on power transfer when hardliners in ZANU PF realised that there was a clause which called for a run-off in the case of a winner failing to get 50 percent plus one vote.

According to the book, Goche reportedly called a senior member of the MDC to negotiate transitional mechanism since Tsvangirai had won the elections.

The book, which is being serialized by South African newspapers, suggests that the 87-year-old Mugabe — in power since the country attained independence in 1980 — had agreed to vacate Munhumutapa and State House after losing to Tsvangirai.

According to the book, ZANU PF members sought to forge strategic alliances with Tsvangirai and to persuade him to accommodate those in the former ruling party who had won Parliamentary seats.

“According to Goche, Mugabe had agreed to step down to ensure proper transfer of power, there was need for us to take some of their Zanu PF winners into the coalition administration,” page 484 of the book reads.

Writing in the Daily News yesterday, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said: “The big news here is that if the Minister of State Security conceded to defeat as alleged, there is no doubt therefore that ZANU PF and its candidate were defeated outright and the run-off was contrived.”

While the results took a month to be announced, what surprised Zimbabweans the most was former South African President Thabo Mbeki’s announcement that there would be a presidential run-off before the results were released.

The Daily News on Sunday has been told that several top ZANU PF officials including ministers were lining up at Tsvangirai’s office to seek favors and immunity as they expected him to take over.

An MDC official yesterday said: “What is clear is that Mugabe was defeated but they (ZEC) took a month to announce results and this is when the results were being cooked up.

“Actually, we are aware that Tsvangirai won by more than 50 percent but it was rigged to ensure that there was a run-off which they (ZANU PF) deliberately sabotaged.”

ZANU PF recently suffered another blow with whistle-blower website WikiLeaks revealing that senior party officials like Vice Presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo went behind Mugabe’s back and met with US officials seeking his ouster.

The US diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks also revealed serial political flip-flopper Jonathan Moyo, currently a Mugabe praise-singer, even approached British billionaire Sir Richard Branson to finance a lucrative exit package for the octogenarian leader.

Some party heavyweights have been baying for the blood of the “sell-outs” but Mugabe has not yet acted although ZANU PF has said it will investigate the matter.

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