Fungi Kwaramba 10 March 2017
HARARE – A buoyant opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, says he will give
President Robert Mugabe and fearful security chiefs immunity from
prosecution when he forms the country’s next government.
Speaking in Harare yesterday, after holding a crucial meeting with the MDC
national executive, the popular former prime minister in the government of
national unity emphasised that Mugabe and securocrats had nothing to fear
when he comes to power – adding that he regretted his failure to assure
them their safety when he won the hotly-disputed 2008 polls.
This comes as Tsvangirai is on the cusp of wrapping up an electoral pact
with smaller opposition parties, which analysts say could finally see both
Mugabe and Zanu PF defeated in the eagerly-awaited 2018 national polls.
“I have a message to those who have in the past resisted change and who
remain keen to subvert the people’s will because of their uncertainty due
to the prospect of political change in the country.
“I wish to assure everyone that there is nothing to fear in the change
that we seek. We have no intention to engage in retribution, and we are
only driven by the genuine patriotic spirit to ensure peace, stability and
“Change will be good for everyone. Change will allow everyone to pursue
and live their dreams under the protection of the State,” Tsvangirai said.
“In 2008, a large part of our fellow citizens in State institutions were
reticent and suspicious about the prospects of change.
“The people won the election but there was no transfer of power because of
the sceptics of change, those whose reticence about a new Zimbabwe cost
this country the opportunity to set a new political direction.
“There will be neither vengeance nor retribution against anyone. There is
certainly nothing to fear. In fact, there will be a pension for those who
are afraid,” the dogged former trade union leader added.
Tsvangirai beat Mugabe hands down in the 29 March 2008 presidential
election, which saw results being withheld for a suspiciously long six
weeks, amid widespread allegations of ballot fiddling and manipulation.
When the widely discredited results of that poll were eventually
announced, Tsvangirai was forced into a presidential run-off which he
pulled out of following massive intimidation and violence which saw
hundreds of his supporters being murdered in cold blood.
Mugabe would go on to stand in an embarrassing and widely condemned
one-man race in which he declared himself the winner.
However, Sadc and the rest of the international community would not accept
the poll, forcing the nonagenarian to share power with Tsvangirai for five
years to prevent the country from imploding completely.
Former State Security minister and one of the founders of the Zimbabwe
People First (ZPF) party, Didymus Mutasa – who was for decades a close
confidante of Mugabe – later lifted the lid on that election’s rot,
following his sacking from Zanu PF, revealing that the nonagenarian
remained in power through chicanery and brute force.
Tsvangirai, who said he was looking to the future with optimism, paid
tribute to disaffected war veterans yesterday, who have been feuding with
Mugabe since mid last year.
“On behalf of the party I lead, the broad democratic movement and on my
own behalf, I want to assure the war veterans, ex-detainees and
restrictees that Zimbabweans sincerely welcome their joining the
legitimate national demand for the institution of democracy, beyond mere
liberation and political independence.
“We sincerely welcome their withdrawal of support from the notion of
one-man-rule and one-centre-of power which were never the objective of the
protracted liberation struggle.
“Together, let us confront those who have betrayed the ethos of that
sacred war. Together, we can all complete the unfinished business of the
“Indeed, our war veterans, with the support of the generality of our
citizens, did not only fight for independence. They also fought for
democracy and it was always going to be inadequate to assume the struggle
was over merely upon the attainment of independence,” Tsvangirai said.
Until their fallout with Mugabe, the fed-up ex-combatants had served as
his and Zanu PF’s main power base, waging particularly brutal campaigns
against Tsvangirai and the MDC, especially in the bloody elections of 2000
Still, Tsvangirai promised the war veterans that he would look after their
welfare and uphold the land reform programme which he declared as
“Fellow Zimbabweans should heed our assurance that we have no intention of
stripping anyone of their land, save only to address issues of inequality
in distribution and productivity on the land that genuinely belongs to us
“Some of us believe in giving beneficiaries the right to land so that this
land, for which so many died, can be both an asset and a legacy that can
be passed on to future generations.
“True, there will be rationalisation in the allocation of land without any
reversal of the sacred principle that Zimbabweans must own their land.
“The Constitution is clear on the value we attach to the liberation
struggle and the war veterans who brought us independence through a brutal
and protracted war. Their welfare and their plight are matters that we
value and hold in sanctity,” Tsvangirai said.
He said the MDC and other smaller parties who were coalescing under the
banner of the National Electoral Reforms Agenda (Nera) were worried by
Zanu PF’s attempts to steal the 2018 elections.
“Everything that is happening in our country today, including this
despicable attempt to steal the next election, is a divergence from the
core values and principles of the liberation struggle.
“Our brothers and sisters went to war, not only to liberate the country
but also to democratise it. As a nation, we have always placed a premium
on the right to vote, then referred to as one-man-one-vote, itself one of
the reasons the heroic people of Zimbabwe went to war.
“Any attack or subversion of the right to a credible vote is an assault on
the ethos of the liberation struggle.
“I want to assure Zimbabweans that we will do everything we can to protect
their vote, even though we cannot do it alone. We appeal to all
Zimbabweans to work together in the patriotic quest for this nation to
hold free, fair and credible elections,” Tsvangirai said.
Controversy has erupted over the past few weeks, following the
government’s sudden decision to sideline the UNDP from assisting in the
procurement of BVR (biometric voter registration) kits, with unanswered
questions being raised about how and where the stone-broke administration
was able to secure funding for this, to the staggering tune of $17
“No political party should be allowed to unilaterally superintend an
electoral process as that can only imperil or endanger the people’s will.
“The government, as currently composed, is constituted of one political
party. It is pertinent to note that when a government so-constituted
hijacks an important process, it means simply that Zanu PF, an interested
party, has unilaterally taken over the work of an independent commission
(Zec) ahead of a watershed poll.
“This should be cause for national alarm given how Zanu PF has in the past
used violence and dubious companies such as Nikuv International Projects
to steal the people’s vote.
“As a party, together with our colleagues in the broader democratic
movement, we take great umbrage at the brazen hostile take-over of the
electoral process by a political party when such work is solely reposed in
an independent commission,” Tsvangirai said.