I am a messenger of hope: Tsvangirai

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai declares he is a “messenger of hope” who would never threaten his followers.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily News on Sunday reporter Richard Chidza (RC), Tsvangirai (MT) talks about the MDC, his deputy Thokozani Khupe, resignation if he is defeated by President Robert Mugabe in next year’s general elections among other issues. Here are excerpts.

RC: Is Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe (DPM) going to appear before a disciplinary hearing for fanning violence?

MT: What came out of the Maanda (Trust) commission report is too generalised, and for your own information the DPM was never mentioned. We want specifics rather than sweeping statements.

It makes it difficult to prosecute those that have been fingered in the violence and we have asked the secretary-general (Tendai Biti) to follow up with the commission and get specifics before the chairperson will set up a national disciplinary committee.

The Khupe issue is a lie and the journalist who wrote the article was asked by Luke Tamborinyoka, (PM’s spokesperson) to provide evidence where I said that, they cannot. It is a paper that is bent on maligning the deputy president to the extent of saying people are defecting from the party in her constituency. It is a media pre-occupation to create a rift between the leadership of the party and create chaos.

RC: A lot has been said about corruption and your failure to decisively deal with corrupt councillors in particular.

MT: I will be the last to defend corruption. We have acted on corruption and fired some councillors. When we are in a collaborative environment you would not expect ministers to cause discord by taking partisan positions. We fired councillors in Chitungwiza for corruption and minister (Ignatius Chombo) re-instated them but later fired them; if we were alone in government we would take a decision and implement it.

We can only do so much as party within the power that we have.

RC: You have told everybody who cares to listen that your party has friends across the world. Have they assisted you in any way since you joined government?

MT: We could not have been where we are without them.

They have helped with lots of money. Through the Health and Education Transition Funds that have transformed the lives of our children and pregnant mothers.

The 2000 boreholes we will be sinking in Mashonaland West, Matabeleland South and North and Masvingo under the Wash (water sanitation and hygiene) programme are all testimony to the partnerships we have around the world.

RC: So you have learnt a lot from Zanu PF?

MT: The only variable in government that has brought some sense of stability and semblance of positive performance in government is the MDC. We were inexperienced but we had a plan. Now we have the experience and the narrative here is have we made an impact and a positive impact.

There is no need for the MDC to harp on about it, Zimbabweans should judge us and we need a chance to be judged cleanly.

RC: Is Morgan Tsvangirai ready to give up his post in the party if he loses the presidential election next year?

MT: I am not under any pressure to make that decision now and if there are any people who have been misled by those reports they need to calm down. I intend to see through my five-year term and I will be here until the next congress.

I am a messenger of hope and cannot be a carrier of bad news. I cannot be discouraging my own supporters or threatening them. We will win the next elections.

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