Fungi Kwaramba 13 March 2017
HARARE – The MDC has reacted angrily to threats by a State media columnist
who said yesterday that popular opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was
only being saved from harm by the “grace” of President Robert Mugabe.
Speaking to the Daily News after reading the controversial column,
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka described Zanu PF as an “evil”
party – adding that yesterday’s threat should be viewed as part of the
ruling party’s ongoing “dastardly” plots against the former prime minister
in the government of national unity.
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 polls.
Tamborinyoka said the MDC viewed the threats against Tsvangirai very
seriously, especially considering the “many previous attempts” on the life
of the former labour union leader by Zanu PF.
Reacting to Tsvangirai’s comments which were carried by the Daily News in
its Friday edition, a shadowy columnist in the Sunday Mail – who writes
under the inappropriate pseudonym of Bishop Lazarus – made ominous threats
against the MDC leader.
“A few days ago, Morgan said something to the effect that; `You will be
safe under me.’ Morgan was trying to give assurance to President Mugabe
and security chiefs that they would be safe under his rule. Unonyatsoona
kuti munhu haasi kunzwa zvakanaka (One can see that he is not well).
“Instead of hallucinating, Morgan should know that the real question is:
`Is Morgan safe going into the future?’ True, there are some people who
really love Morgan, but there are many who are really angry with the man.
They whisper in the dark saying; `This man brought us all these troubles
and if it wasn’t for President Mugabe…
“What is unfortunate for Morgan is that those who love him are so
insignificant in the scheme of political things yet those who are angry
with him have the capacity to do anything they want with him. I mean
anything. So the question going into the future is; `Is Morgan going to be
“The answer may be found in history. Just check what happened to that
sell-out Morris Nyathi after the attainment of independence,” the
vituperative Bishop Lazarus wrote.
Tamborinyoka told the Daily News yesterday that they were aware that Zanu
PF always wanted Tsvangirai dead.
“But he will only die when he achieves God’s purpose, even though we are
aware that Zanu PF wants Tsvangirai dead.
“Tsvangirai’s life has always been under threat from Zanu PF. There have
been many assassination plots. He was also brutally attacked in a police
station and lost his wife (in suspicious circumstances) but his source of
protection is God.
“The whim of human wishes will always falter on the anvil of God’s grace.
Whatever attempts on Tsvangirai they scheme will always fail as long as
God is willing to protect him,” Tamborinyoka thundered.
Speaking in Harare on Thursday, after holding a crucial meeting with the
MDC national executive, Tsvangirai said Mugabe and top securocrats had
nothing to fear as he would give them immunity from prosecution when he
forms the country’s next government.
“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.
This statement clearly did not go down well with the likes of Bishop
Lazarus, whose sick threats yesterday triggered anxiety among
Tamborinyoka said it would be naive to brush aside the threats, as
Zimbabwe’s history was littered with heinous acts and human rights
violations which occurred after Zanu PF had issued threats of a similar
Tsvangirai, the only politician to defeat Mugabe hands down in an
election, in 2008, has previously survived a number of State-sponsored
acts of terror against him – including barbaric attacks that were meted on
him and other senior opposition officials in the Harare high density
suburb of Highfield in 2007, during a prayer march there.
On that fateful day, Tsvangirai was so maliciously battered by heavily
armed police officers that they left him with a fractured skull.
A prominent MDC supporter, Gift Tandare, was shot dead in cold blood by
police, while several senior party officials at the time – including
Tendai Biti, Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinjeh – were also savaged brutally
by the authorities.
The Highfield fiasco eventually led to the intervention by Sadc, whose
mediation later led to the formation of the inclusive government after the
hotly-disputed 2008 polls which the MDC still won.
After Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in that year’s presidential election, the
results were withheld by panicking authorities for a suspiciously long six
weeks, amid widespread allegations of ballot fiddling and manipulation.
When the discredited results of that poll were eventually announced,
Tsvangirai was forced into a 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.
A few months after becoming the country’s prime minister in the uneasy
coalition government in March 2009, Tsvangirai lost his wife Susan in a
road accident which his supporters say was yet another attempt on his
life, although he ruled out foul play at the time.
Previously, Tsvangirai had survived the gallows by a whisker after the
State had preferred false charges of treason against him, after the
government claimed it had evidence that he wanted to assassinate Mugabe.
The case collapsed in 2004 after a year-long trial in which it was relying
on questionable evidence from a grainy videotape that was secretly
recorded by Ari Ben Menashe, a discredited Canadian-based political