MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has been called on to lead a national effort by Zimbabweans to stop President Robert Mugabe from contesting elections as a Zanu PF candidate next year.
Source: Tsvangirai called on to stop Mugabe – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 1, 2017
BY RICHARD CHIDZA/BLESSED MHLANGA
Mugabe, who will be 94 next year, has already been endorsed as the ruling party’s candidate.
In a statement, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said following his whirlwind tour of the Zanu PF political hotbed of Mashonaland East, the MDC-T said opinion leaders in the province had pleaded with Tsvangirai to seek national consensus against Mugabe’s participation.
“Opinion leaders told president Tsvangirai that there must be a national clarion call to urge President Mugabe not to contest the next election. At the ripe age of 94, it is impossible for the nonagenarian to come up with any new ideas to rescue the country from the current abyss,” he said.
But Zanu PF politburo secretary for youth, Kudzanai Chipanga immediately hit back, arguing it was Tsvangirai, who was scared of a defeat in the make-or-break poll.
“It would not surprise us if Tsvangirai were to vote for President Mugabe because all people naturally would want to be associated with winners. Tsvangirai has already convinced himself of defeat next year, because if it were not for that, then why would he bother himself with a candidate he is sure to win against,” he said.
“We do not vote for a President to bring in new ideas, but for what he has done and what he stands for. We know President Mugabe and what he stands for. If he were to change his personality, he might actually fall out of favour with the party.”
The MDC-T said Tsvangirai was also told of “pervading fear” in communities across Mashonaland East, one of the epicentres of election-related atrocities over the past few decades, particularly since the emergence of the opposition party at the turn of the century.
“President Tsvangirai continued his listening tour in Mutoko and Murehwa in Mashonaland East province, where fear and intimidation continue to be the major factors gripping communities,” the statement further read.
“Pastors, chiefs, headmen, village heads, war veterans, women and ordinary villagers all spoke to endemic fear and intimidation being orchestrated by Zanu PF. Since the run-off violence of 2008, Zanu PF continues to emasculate communities, particularly chiefs and headmen, coercing them to frog-march people to vote for Zanu PF in the next election.
“The community leaders said the national challenge was to unlock the fear planted in the villages and local areas, where people were not free to express themselves.”
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai said rural communities do not trust the new biometric voters’ roll (BVR), which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission wants to introduce in time for next year’s general elections.
He said villagers feared the BVR would be used by Zanu PF as an intimidation tactic.
“The opinion leaders expressed their lack of trust and faith in the BVR process, saying Zanu PF would use the fingerprints issue to intimidate villagers to say the party would use the fingerprints to see where they had put their vote,” the statement read.
“Traditional leaders, particularly chiefs and headmen, said Zanu PF killed and orchestrated violence against the people in 2008 and was invoking that period to instil fear and intimidate villagers and local communities.”
He said community leaders said it was important to harness all energies to ensure that Zanu PF loses in 2018.