We've already won: Tsvangirai

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said his MDC party had already won the forthcoming elections and did not need the approval of security chiefs to rule but the majority support of Zimbabweans.
 
Addressing more than 30 000 supporters clad in the party’s official red colour at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare - Tsvangirai said his victory was certain in a crunch poll he is squaring off with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF, which has been in power for the past 33 years.

Describing Zanu PF as a “finished lot” with no concrete plans for the country, Tsvangirai said the MDC was cut from a different cloth.

“We are not like visionless people,” the MDC leader told the cheering throng.

“We have plans for Zimbabwe, and we have been crafting policies to take this country forward. We have been moving in a reverse gear for too long. Now is the time to move forward and bring back happy faces on you,” he said to a thunderous applause from the bumper crowd.

The rally capped a three-day MDC national policy conference touted by the party as a government take-over symposium.

The conference articulated the party’s governance thrust should the MDC win and assumes total power and control of the State and government.

Security chiefs — the real power behind Mugabe’s three-decade stay in power — have vowed not to recognise Tsvangirai even if he is elected into office by the entire citizenry saying they will never salute anyone without liberation war credentials.

But in his response yesterday, the MDC leader,  who is in a shaky coalition with bitter rival Mugabe, said the experience he acquired in the inclusive government has made him ripe to lead the country, reiterating that military officials had no power to stop an idea whose time has come.

Military chiefs such as police chief Augustine Chihuri, Defence forces boss Constantine Chiwenga and Prison Services head Paradzai Zimondi, have publicly declared their allegiance to Mugabe.

“I don’t get the mandate to govern this country from anyone -— I get it from you the people,” Tsvangirai declared boldly. “I am a proud president of MDC and a very proud soon-to-be president of Zimbabwe.”

Tsvangirai said the time he has spent in the troubled coalition has given him an apprenticeship to rule solo.

He said the struggle for democratic change had been long and taxing.

“The resilience and commitment of the people of Zimbabwe is what makes me confident to lead this country,” Tsvangirai said.

“The children of Israel used the longest route to get to Canaan, have you ever asked yourself why? This is done so that they can be moulded into a perfect people, as MDC we believe we have been moulded and it is our time to govern this country.”

The firebrand former trade unionist, who successfully ended Zanu PF’s hegemonic monopoly to governance in 2008, said the ex-majority party does not have any forward-looking policies to drive Zimbabwe to the next level.

The rally witnessed an unprecedented turnout, with some supporters climbing on trees to get a glimpse of the MDC leader.

The crowd defied the chilly weather to attend the “Harare star rally.”

With polls fast beckoning, Tsvangirai said the on-going voter registration exercise which has been dogged by chaos, should be watched carefully as he feared that the “noble” exercise could be manipulated in Zanu PF’s favour.

The moment he begun talking about voter registration, the crowd erupted into a frenzy demanding a loud and clear position.

Many complained that they have been subjected to “unwarranted” intimidation and frustration by the “partisan” Registrar General’s office.

“We know that Zanu PF want to use the voter registration exercise to rig the next elections, they want to frustrate first time voters, make it difficult for lodgers to register and vote, but we are aware of the plot,” Tsvangirai said.

“Now listen, we are not going to allow that to happen, we are going to have another voter registration after the signing of the new constitution into law.”

A new constitution passed in a largely peaceful March 16 referendum among other things prescribe a 30-day voter registration period ahead of the poll, which will be initiated after Mugabe signs the Constitutional Bill.

The country goes for harmonised elections later this year, but the poll date has been a subject of intense bickering between protagonists Mugabe and Tsvangirai, with the former clamouring for a June election timetable while his coalition partner envisages an October poll after fundamental reforms such as security sector and media reorganisation. - Xolisane Ncube

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