‘We’ll fight fire with fire in 2018’

Source: ‘We’ll fight fire with fire in 2018’ – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya      7 February 2017

HARARE – The youth leader of former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
MDC, Happymore Chidziva, has warned Zanu PF saying the ruling party’s
plans to unleash violence on opposition supporters in next year’s crunch
national elections will be met with “interest” by fed-up Zimbabweans.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the militant Chidziva said Zanu PF
needed to know that there was “a limit” to what Zimbabweans could take in
terms of the ruling party’s thuggery, and MDC youths were ready to defend
peace-loving citizens.

He added that Zimbabweans were also ready to defend their votes in 2018
from “any sort of manipulation or irregularities” as had happened in
previous polls.

“We are now ready to defend our future. We cannot allow Zanu PF to do
whatever it wants with us and in 2018 we are absolutely going to defend
people from Zanu PF’s terror campaign.

“What (President Robert) Mugabe and his party did in the Bikita West
by-election does not scare us, and we are warning them that this time
around they must not press this violence button again. Enough is enough,”
he thundered.

Chidziva’s sentiments come as opposition parties and civil society
organisations have said Zanu PF only won the Bikita West by-election by
harassing and manipulating traditional leaders and ordinary voters.

“We have suffered enough as youths and as Zimbabweans and we are now ready
to map our future. We are not going to allow Zanu PF to rig the 2018
elections as we are going to protect our votes and defend them
vigorously,” he warned.

Chidziva also said it was high time that the government provided the
millions of jobs it had promised in 2013, in addition to working hard to
curb corruption and improve the country’s dying economy, as well as
ordinary people’s access to healthcare.

He savaged the “appalling reality” which had seen Zanu PF bigwigs being
fixated on looting and with their deadly tribal, factional and succession
wars, instead of working to improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.

“All the problems we face today as the youth have been a creation of
Robert Mugabe due to his confirmed failure, hence we can’t allow ourselves
to continue subjecting ourselves to the same troubles by allowing Mugabe
to continue with his misrule.

“I would like to warn (Zanu PF youth leader Kudzanai) Chipanga that as
ruling party youths they should stop fooling themselves that Mugabe will
be a life president in this country because we as Zimbabweans will not
fold our hands and watch such stupidity taking place.

“We remain convinced that the only solution to the country’s problems is
the immediate and unconditional departure of Mugabe from office. He must
go now. He is a colossal failure and the sooner we are rid of him the
better,” Chidziva said.

Last year, Chidziva gave Zanu PF and the government a torrid time after he
led many successful protests.

He said yesterday that while they would continue with their mass actions
going forward, he was also urging all Zimbabweans, particularly the
youths, to work to redefine their future by registering to vote in next
year’s polls.

“After 2018, Zanu PF must be history. It’s time for us youths and all
Zimbabweans to define our future by registering to vote,” Chidziva said.

And with the country’s political and economic rot continuing to escalate
at an alarming rate, as Zimbabwe hurtles towards the make-or-break 2018
national polls, Tsvangirai says despairing citizens should remain calm but
vigilant – “comforted by the knowledge that victory is certain”.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily News at the weekend, the buoyant
and fit-again Tsvangirai also reassured edgy Zimbabweans that it was a
matter of time before the planned opposition grand alliance – to take on
the warring ruling Zanu PF in next year’s elections – was knit together.

“When we began this journey (struggle for a better Zimbabwe) almost two
decades ago, we always knew it would be difficult and challenging,
requiring much hard work and sacrifice.

“The good news is that it’s not much longer to go now and long-suffering
Zimbabweans will soon get the change that they have long wanted. Indeed,
victory has never been more certain than it is today.

“I call on all Zimbabweans to remain calm, but vigilant as our collective
political and economic pain grows because of Zanu PF’s thuggery and
misrule. Our struggle is not in vain and it’s definitely not long to go
now,” the confident Tsvangirai said.

The former trade union leader – the only man to beat Mugabe in an election
hands down, in 2008 – spoke after he savaged the government last Thursday
for arresting activist preacher Evan Mawarire, warning that this was the
beginning of a crackdown by panicking authorities on fed-up citizens ahead
of the crunch 2018 national polls.

“The callous arrest in broad daylight of … Mawarire came as no surprise
to those of us who have always known that a leopard remains faithful to
its spots.

“This is vintage Zanu PF, and the message coming out of this arrest is
that Zanu PF will go for broke in the campaign ahead of the next election.
The world must brace for impunity and violence against the innocent
citizens of our country.

“I condemn in the strongest of terms the impunity against an innocent
citizen of Zimbabwe who has committed no crime. If the regime thinks this
arrest will cow the people of this country, then we have news for them,”
Tsvangirai said then.

“Zimbabweans will not be intimidated and they will fight for a truly free
and fair election in which their voice will count.

“What happened at the Harare International Airport must send a chilling
message, particularly to those in the region and in the broader
international community who thought Zanu PF was capable of reform.

“There cannot be reform without reformers and this impunity is a
reflection of the true character of Zanu PF. However, we have always been
a heroic people and we shall not be cowed,” he added.

Tsvangirai also said former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who now leads the
Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), had already proved to be a significant
opposition player – and that the two would work together with others to
dethrone Mugabe and Zanu PF from power next year.

“We know what Mujuru brings to the table and she knows what we offer, so
those who say that a coalition is coming are not far off the mark,” he