Tendai Kamhungira 7 May 2017
HARARE – Dogged opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) has
delivered a stark message to long-suffering Zimbabweans: that either all
eligible voters register and participate in next year’s make-or-break
polls, or continue to cry as the country’s political and economic rot
deepens by the day due to Zanu PF’s misrule.
Addressing opposition supporters of political parties coalescing under the
banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) in Chitungwiza
yesterday, Tsvangirai also challenged youths to take an active role in the
affairs of the country, including the watershed 2018 polls.
“In our last election, only five percent of those between the age of 18
and 35 voted. I am now challenging all these young people because you are
allowing us the old people to continue defining your future.
“Are you aware that you are outsourcing your future to the old, even to
grandfathers like (President Robert) Mugabe. You are outsourcing your
future to that old man. What does that mean?
“But let’s not lose heart. Let’s all go and register to vote. On voting
day, we are not supposed to go home without casting our votes.
“And simply going to vote is also not good enough. We must also defend our
vote. We must not leave this duty to only a few people,” Tsvangirai said.
“I am making a final appeal to you. You are the game changers, as 60
percent of those below the age of 40 are the majority of the country’s
population … unfortunately, you are leaving everything in Tsvangirai’s
“When Zanu PF rigs elections, many of you simply look up to me. Some of
you don’t have national identity cards, others do not even make an effort
to get these ID cards.
“Yet others don’t even come around on the days to register for elections.
So … you are in effect saying the old generation must define your
future,” he added.
The former prime minister in the stability-inducing government of national
unity made his forceful call at a time that he is on the cusp of
finalising coalition agreements with other opposition leaders ahead of
next year’s eagerly-anticipated polls.
He has for the past few months been working feverishly behind the scenes
with former vice president Joice Mujuru and other smaller opposition
leaders to conclude the much-talked about electoral pacts which have
spooked Zanu PF.
In developments which were hailed as very significant, Tsvangirai signed
memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Mujuru and his former secretary
general Welshman Ncube last month, as the make-or-break 2018 elections
Before then, optimism had been high ever since Tsvangirai and Mujuru
publicly flaunted their readiness to join forces against the ruling party,
when they appeared together in Gweru in August last year.
Analysts have also repeatedly said Mujuru, whose liberation struggle nom
de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood), and whose husband Solomon was the
first black post-independence army commander, could provide the
much-needed bridge that opposition parties have been missing to ensure the
smooth transfer of power if they win elections again.
However, they have also warned that without a broad coalition involving
all the major opposition players, Zanu PF would use “its usual thuggish
and foul methods” to retain power in 2018.
Yesterday, Tsvangirai also reiterated his warning to Mugabe and Zanu PF
that the opposition would not accept a rigged election, threatening anew
to dismiss such any such manipulated result.
“I want to tell you one thing, we are now aware of what is happening. They
stole the previous elections and this time around they are not going to do
that because we now know the tactics that they use to rig elections.
“We are going to refuse to accept a result which does not recognise the
choice of the people of Zimbabwe.
“I want to let Zanu PF know that they are now the minority. So, we cannot
expect the minority to defeat the majority.
“Everybody, even those in the rural areas unanimously agree that the
government now needs to be changed. They specifically told me that they no
longer want Mugabe in power,” he said.
Last month, Tsvangirai and Mujuru said there was “no doubt whatsoever”
that the MDC – working together with other opposition parties – would,
like it did in 2008, once again defeat Zanu PF in 2018 and bring to an end
Mugabe’s long but tumultuous rule.
“I stand ready to heed the calls by Zimbabweans that I lead … Indeed,
when I moved across the country, the people said I should lead.
“So, if that is what people want, then I am ready to lead the coalition.
But this should not be about individuals but about Zimbabwe.
“Indeed, the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe is not between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai, but between long-suffering Zimbabweans and a heartless,
looting Zanu PF,” Tsvangirai said.
Soon after, Mujuru said the mooted grand opposition coalition was the only
way of extricating the country from its economic problems.
“As NPP (National People’s Party), we believe that what ought to be 37
years of independence has been turned into 37 years of slavery and misery
“We believe we have capacity as Zimbabweans to extricate ourselves out of
the social, economic and political mess we find ourselves in, as a result
of Zanu PF’s failed government.
“It is time that all progressive forces within the rank and file of
opposition parties put their differences aside and face the failed Zanu PF
government as a united front by every constitutional means necessary come
“Our people never went to war so that the destiny of our country can be
turned into political dynasties.
“Zimbabweans deserve to be free and that freedom has to be exercised now.
To that end, as NPP we urge all the progressive forces within the rank and
file of the opposition parties of this country to go back to the basics of
the revolutionary ideals of oneness.
“It is our belief as NPP that what divides us as opposition political
parties are smaller than what binds us as a country. Our motto should
therefore be united we stand, divided we fall,” she said.