Tsvangirai blames Grace for violence

via Tsvangirai blames Grace for violence – DailyNews Live 14 November 2015 by Helen Kadirire

HARARE – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai  (pictured) says President Robert Mugabe’s controversial wife Grace is inciting violence through the many inflammatory statements that she is making on her countrywide rallies.

Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, Tsvangirai said the political violence which had rocked Harare over the past two weeks had been instigated by Grace, particularly her utterances that certain parts of the country were no-go areas for opposition parties.

The MDC leader’s statement followed the violence that broke out a fortnight ago after Zanu PF youths disrupted an MDC rally in Harare South, while three MDC supporters were seriously injured in a politically-related attack in Mbare on Tuesday.

“We had begun to enjoy peace until these recent eruptions of violence. But of course, this is being encouraged by First Lady Grace Mugabe.

“You cannot declare certain areas to be no-go areas for the opposition, because then you are inciting violence. And if the First Family is at the forefront of inciting violence, what are we ordinary people going to do about it?” the former prime minister in the government of national unity asked.

Tsvangirai also bemoaned the deadly factional and succession wars devouring Zanu PF, where the ruling party’s members were “constantly trying to outshine each other”.

“Recent incidents of violence are no exception. We know that Shadreck Mashayamombe in Harare South wants to be the chairperson of Harare province, so he has to demonstrate that he has more violence and can also mobilise against the opposition.

“We know in Mbare there is a scramble to replace Jim Kunaka, the latter-day saint who showed that he can unleash violence and got rewarded for his actions. There are other aspirants who want to show that they are more violent than Kunaka, but all these are futile exercises,” he said.

Tsvangirai reiterated the MDC’s stance that the party would boycott the 2018 national elections if attacks on the party’s supporters by Zanu PF continued.

He added that Zanu PF’s use of violence was consistent with the general lack of democracy in the country, which did not augur well for free and fair elections in 2018.

“If violence is going to continue to be the instrument of Zanu PF, and if conditions for free and fair elections are not created, then I am afraid that they will get violence as a reward.

“This will not be because the violence will come from the MDC, but because we will not participate or even think about having an election where violence is going to be the yardstick of running an election.

“It is very sad, but if Zanu PF wants to rule by violence, let them say so for all to know that there is no democracy to talk about at all. We will all know that we are under a ‘one violent party rule’ forever.

“Everyone wants to have democracy, change and peace, and as such this violence must stop in the interests of the nation,” Tsvangirai said.

He also called for the implementation of key electoral reforms if the country was to hold credible elections in 2018.

“Our convergence is not only limited to the demands for broad and deep-seated reforms. Very soon, we will be converging in our diversity to announce to the nation a united way forward, as a broad democratic movement. We owe this to the nation.

“At our congress in October 2014, one of our resolutions was that as a party, we would not participate in any election in the absence of reforms, and we have stuck to that position. The good news is that there is an emerging convergence that we were right,” Tsvangirai said.

He said the shenanigans witnessed in the by-elections held early this year — including the violence that had been witnessed in Hurungwe West — as well as ongoing violence against the MDC by Zanu PF thugs in the presence of police, pointed to a poisoned environment that he said needed to be addressed urgently.

“Among the reforms that the diversity of political parties and ordinary Zimbabweans are yearning for are media reforms, which were at the heart of the dysfunctionality and disagreements in the inclusive government,” he said.