Jeffrey Muvundusi in GWERU 11 June 2017
GWERU – A buoyant opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, yesterday told
thousands of his supporters who braved the chilly and drizzly weather in
the Midlands capital that President Robert Mugabe’s advanced age – coupled
with the ruling Zanu PF’s vicious infighting – would deliver victory to
the MDC in next year’s make-or-break national elections.
The popular former prime minister in the government of national unity –
who said he had been “energised” by the bumper crowd which packed Mkoba
Stadium – also assured long-suffering Zimbabweans that change would take
place in 2018 notwithstanding the involvement of a Chinese firm in the
sourcing of the country’s biometric voter registration (BVR) kits.
“The coming election is not about Mugabe versus Tsvangirai, but about evil
versus good. It’s also something that is going to shock the world that a
94-year-old stands for an election. How can that be possible?”
“Some in Zanu PF have said they will even conduct their party’s politburo
meetings at his grave, while others have said he (Mugabe) is God. Is that
what Christians do?
“Whether Mugabe stands (in 2018) or not, it’s still a loss (for Zanu PF)
because those who will support him will be very few and even if they put
up someone else, very few will support him … Even if they try to steal
the elections they won’t succeed,” Tsvangirai told the cheering crowds.
“Zanu (PF) cannot convince the people that it is defining a new direction
for the country when is has failed dismally in the last four decades,” he
Zanu PF is currently sharply divided, with the camp which is rabidly
opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe, the
Generation 40 (G40) faction, involved in a life-and-death tussle with the
VP’s backers, Team Lacoste.
Mugabe and his Zanu PF colleagues, in power since the country’s
independence from Britain in 1980, have also been accused of running down
Zimbabwe’s once prosperous economy through ruinous policies.
Zimbabwe is also currently in the grip of a ginormous economic crisis
which has seen the country experiencing acute shortages of cash, amid
horrendous company closures and jobless levels.
Against this background, Tsvangirai also urged people to register to vote
in huge numbers in next year’s watershed polls.
The dogged former labour union leader also allayed widespread fears about
a Chinese company, Laxton Group, being awarded a tender to supply the
country’s BVR kits.
“BVR cannot be manipulated. The Chinese were chosen with the involvement
of the United Nations … So, don’t doubt because it’s China, don’t be
afraid,” he said.
This comes as the MDC had earlier expressed outrage over the recent
decision by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to award the BVR kits
tender to Laxton – which it suspected may be used by Zanu PF to manipulate
the crucial polls.
The country’s quest to acquire BVR kits had earlier in the process also
caused a huge political storm, with opposition parties viewing the
government’s involvement in the purchase of the equipment as problematic.
This was after the government suddenly decided to sideline the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from procuring the BVR kits, with
unanswered questions being raised about how Mugabe’s stone-broke
administration was able to secure funding for this, to the staggering tune
of $17 million.
Yesterday, Tsvangirai also hinted that the long-mooted grand opposition
coalition was nearing finalisation.
However, he warned that without needed electoral reforms, the electoral
alliance was unlikely to achieve its goals of wrestling power from Zanu
“There is no other country in the region that violates Sadc principles and
standards except Zimbabwe,” he said.
Tsvangirai and other leaders of the smaller opposition parties have been
demanding sweeping electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 elections.
At the same time, he has been finalising talks towards the formation of
the envisaged alliance, whose prospects were brightened when he recently
signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with former Vice President Joice
Mujuru and his one time secretary-general, Welshman Ncube.
Analysts have said the opposition, contesting next year’s elections as a
united front, stands a good chance of finally bringing an end to both
Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s long rule.
Optimism has been high within opposition circles ever since Tsvangirai and
Mujuru joined forces and walked the streets of Gweru in August last year,
in a rare public show of unity.
And Tsvangirai yesterday was reminded by the exuberant crowd that turned
up at his rally how important he was to ordinary Zimbabweans’ hopes for a
new political dispensation in the country.
“Thank you for coming in your numbers. Gweru madadisa (you have done the
country proud,” Tsvangirai said on micro-blogging site Twitter, an hour
after ending his rally.
Meanwhile, eight war veterans and war collaborators from Mashonaland East
who defected from Zanu PF were introduced to MDC supporters at yesterday’s
Tsvangirai said it was important for both the ruling Zanu PF and war
veterans to remember that the fight for independence was a collaborative
effort between ordinary people and freedom fighters, adding that the
purpose of the liberation struggle was to uphold the ideals of freedom and
the right to vote.