Tsvangirai to address “Red Monday” rally

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai makes his last throw of the dice tomorrow at a star rally in Harare dubbed the “Red Power Monday” that police had earlier attempted to ban citing shortage of manpower.

Tsvangirai will make his final poll pitch before an expected 100 000-strong crowd, according to an MDC spokesperson, in what could be the most important speech of his political life.

Three days before presidential and parliamentary elections, police had earlier blocked Tsvangirai from staging the rally in Harare ostensibly because they have no manpower while approving President Robert Mugabe’s star rally scheduled for Harare today.

Tsvangirai’s “Cross Over” rally is scheduled for the open space next to the Rainbow Towers Hotel (formerly Sheraton) which the party has rechristened “Freedom Square.”

“All the MDC supporters in Harare are expected to converge in their big numbers there,”said MDC organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, calling on everyone to wear red.

The furore over the attempted cancellation of the MDC star rally, which forced police into a climb down after the MDC filed an urgent High Court chamber application challenging the ban, was the latest sign of tension in the run-up to Zimbabwe’s eighth presidential election since independence in 1980.

The poll has been marked by opposition and civil society allegations of irregularities and concerns about inadequate preparations.

In a stand-off that began earlier yesterday, police chief superintendent Alex Chagwedera, the officer commanding Harare, wrote to the MDC advising that they were not sanctioning the rally.

“Be advised that we have already deployed all our personnel to polling stations where they are securing election and government materials,” Chagwedera said in the letter to the MDC.

“We have no extra personnel to spare so that they cover your intended rally. Some of our personnel have been deployed to some other provinces to augment the strength of such provinces.

“In view of the foregoing, holding of the intended star rally has not been sanctioned and should not be allowed to take place as the absence of police officers from the rally may culminate in political violence.”

Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary general, approached the High Court after issuing a damning press statement at Harvest House, the MDC headquarters, police backtracked and cleared the rally, but with stringent conditions.

Chagwedera said the police will keep an eye on the conduct of the MDC supporters during the rally. He had earlier indicated that the ZRP had no manpower to do so.

“By copy of this minute, all sections of the security forces have been advised of your intended star rally and will be monitoring the situation,” reads part of Chagwedera’s letter seen by the Daily News late last night.

The Harare police chief expressed fears that the MDC rally could “culminate in political violence.”

But Chamisa said: “All the tactics will not work, they are tactics of desperation. They want to cause problems. But we are urging our MDC supporters and Zimbabweans at large to press for the last moment. The darkest hour is before dawn. It’s dawn in Zimbabwe, dawn is coming. It might be the darkest hour, but dawn is coming. Sure, no matter how painful this period is, it is dawn tomorrow. We are beginning a new day.”

Biti said: “This is the kind of thing we are dealing with and as we have said, we get shocked when some people are saying the country is having a free and fair election, what rubbish! This election is illegitimate, is illegal, is not free, is immoral and unfair.”

Mugabe has acknowledged that his Zanu PF party faces a real battle to stay in power in next Wednesday’s make-or-break elections, given the groundswell of support for Tsvangirai, who understands that Wednesday’s election is about the ownership of Zimbabwe’s national institutions.

Obert Gutu, the Harare MDC spokesman, said they expected a turnout of no less than 100 000 at the ‘Cross Over’ rally, and said several hundreds of thousands dressed in red were expected to turn out to hear Tsvangirai speak.

Meanwhile, Mugabe has been repeating the familiar history themes on the campaign trail that land belongs to the black people of Zimbabwe who waged a liberation war to gain freedom from colonialism, accuses his main opponents the MDC of being a puppet of foreign forces opposed to Zimbabwe, particularly Britain.

Scores of those attending are leaving his rallies while he is still speaking soon after getting T-shirts and caps.

Tsvangirai has been staging a colourful campaign show, including a “show boat”— a convoy of open trucks driving around the township streets and shopping centres like a carnival.

The banner and red-festooned convoy has been moving from shopping centre to shopping centre to wild cheers from people in streets and buses.

Tsvangirai faces a stark choice: run in the July 31 vote many believe is being stolen amid a frenzy of sympathy from many Zimbabweans after his demand that the government extend the campaign period faced resistance from Mugabe and the overwhelming grassroots support that could boost his chances during the vote.

Comments (24)

What goes round comes around and indeed the chickens are coming home to roost.Who can stop the winds of change?Those that try will be blown away into oblivion.Go Zimbabwe Go!! Its now FREEDOM TIME

Chimpunu - 28 July 2013

Surely, we are going to paint the city RED tomorrow. Morgan, we are behind you all the way. # Asijiki

Tino - 28 July 2013

What about Ncube and Dabengwa's star rallies? Has anyone out there heard of them? Indab'itshekile.

N. Sithole - 28 July 2013

zvaaniwo zvaana ncube ne zanu yawo manje zanu takaizora bata

nehanda nyakasikana - 28 July 2013

Sithole: What about Ncube and Dabengwa rallies??

john moyo - 28 July 2013

You can have 1 million people coming to the rally in Harare, that doesn't mean anything. Harare is a safe MDC T area.

john moyo - 28 July 2013

please people let's go and vote in our thousands tisazochema mangwana. am tired of this miserable life!

asijiki - 28 July 2013

if MT wins i will voluntarily work for free in the first month -a gesture of gratitude in the new zim!

goebells - 28 July 2013

MT has painted the whole country red he delivering us from oppression and poverty to freedom and progress.

chemedzanemburungwe - 28 July 2013

How can SADC declare that the election preparations are satifsactory when Police are denying the MDC to stage their Star Rally in Harare? The day of reckoning is nigh and prophets of doom should think twice coz they will be blown by the winds of change sweeping across Zimbabwe. MT is assured of victory though a lot of spanners have been thrown along his path to becoming the first President of a truly liberated Zimbabwe. How can anyone in his right mind vote for stagnation. Leaders come and go but people remain so let us put Zimbabwe ahead of all our selfish desires.

Chief Philip Charumbira - 28 July 2013

I dreamt shouting out very possitive results and people were so pleased. It is time ZANU PF bows out gracefully from power and admit that people want change , like the change ZANU PF wanted when they came to power in 1980 from white rule, from 1890 to 1980. It is now time for change for the ordinary poor Zimbabweans who have suffered white rule from 1890 to 1980 , then also suffered vadzvinyiriri maoppressor echitema ma ZANU PF from 1980 up to 2013. The ZANU PF oppressor elites went into power to get rich , so now that they are very very rich, why not get out of power with your riches gracefully? Hamugute here?

Tawhina Godbless - 28 July 2013

i have made a pact with my god: if mdc wins, i will find a church to join and work for the lord.

ndarwadziwa nezanu pf - 28 July 2013

John Moyo. I thought Ncube and Dabengwa were also in the big race but they do not seem to be visible on the ground in a big way.

N.Sithole - 28 July 2013

I pray that Nikuv deflates the ball. Ngatikumbirei kuti Nikuv iponjese bhora! Nikuv ngaitaurwe nayo ku-background. The real issue now surrounds the voters roll and polling stations that are kept under wraps. Apa ndipo pava nechikiribidi chose. This is where all rigging is now.

Gondobwe - 28 July 2013

An MDC-T win will culminate me into turning to God forever nokuti Mwari vanenge varatidza simba ravo

badoo - 28 July 2013

Our prayers fellow zimbos have been heard and President Tsvangirai has now been given to Zimbabwe by God the Almighty. Amen.

wella - 28 July 2013

Our prayers fellow zimbos have been heard and President Tsvangirai has now been given to Zimbabwe by God the Almighty. Amen.

wella - 28 July 2013

As voters we must do what we are supposed to do: VOTE in big numbers no matter how frustration it might be. These guys are not going to surrender power willingly

Pombi Yadonha - 28 July 2013

If ZANU PF loses the polls they must accept losing gracefully. We will let them go peacefully for the stability of Zimbabwe. We will give them pensions so that they live a in peace and harmony with people, we will give them a role in the country as elders to advise the new MDC T rulers. They will be allowed to keep their riches and we will keep our promises and live with them in peace and honour them as elders of Zimbabwe. We will honour them for fighting the chimurenga war and no one will be allowed at anytime to scold or say insults to the old guard. We must refrain from insulting these old boys or doing silly things like revenge and so on because we shall let bygones be bygones and lwe will move on to a new chapter of Zimbabwe's political phase. When whites ruled us , did we not leave them alone after ZANU PF won elections? So when MDC T wins elections , we must also leave ZANU PF elders alone so that they retire peacefully in Zimbabwe side side with the rest of us.

Quende Bvhende - 28 July 2013

What Zimbabweans should be prepared for is to face Mugabe head on because he will lose but refuse to live. That being the case, the people' s plan B should start. No demostrationswill remove Mugabe, but confrontation will. Painful it may be but that's it

Zizi - 28 July 2013

imi ka , musatambe nagushungo ndovane yese

tendai biti snr - 29 July 2013

badoo and ndarwadzi nezanupf. even if tsvangirai does not win we still praise our God because this guy has done his best. he has continued what the dongos, tekeres, nkomos tried to achieve but the old man does not want to listen. the reason why i will continue praising my God is because after this it will be mugabe and God and that will be sore. even his mapostories will not help this time. There are times when God tells a man i have rejected you and man tend not to listen. remember these people who God reject go on to consult spirit mediums. look at what saul did when God rejected him. mark my words

sammy - 29 July 2013

Listen, Tererai, Lalelani Folks !!! History will recall that During the 1980 Elections the bespectaculed Muzorewa had all the State Machinery at his disposal , But What Happened? Need I go further - the rest is history. Rally Attendance Figures count for nothing here as Bussing of supporters/Shops closure /Regalia issuance is an open secret for all too see and this is not something new in just this Election. If you check the announcement of their Star rallies inevitably they have got to mention about the performing musicians/artists so we don't know who will be the major attraction actually at these rallies . .Forced Rally attendance figures really count for nothing it is the BALLOT box that counts come 31 July.

Riichard Kwetu - 29 July 2013

Test case in point is the White city Zanu PF attendance which really belies the genuine numbers who are going to vote for them, if at all from such a crowd. PATHETIC , it never ceases to amaze how the Veteran leader failed to fill up the National Sports Stadium much to his chagrin and shame a feat regularly accomplished with consumate ease by men of cloth. I suppose Gwanzura Stadium would have been a more appropriate venue , all the same it was a noble FAREWELL. GOOD BYE BOB! NOMORE UNTOLD SUFFERING AT YOUR HANDS AND REGIME. So hear it from yours truly the same goes for all the other provinces except for maybe just 3 out of 10 at most according to statistics on the ground. We should actually thank the attending crowds for giving RGM a dignified FAREWELL something that's cool for his 33yr troubles. So lets turn out in bits and droves and give MDC-T a thunderous vote as we usher in a NEW GOVERNMENT this Wednesday. Always remember the Pen is mightier than the Sword. Achilles Heel) contrary to the wishful thinking expressed by some of our naïve Analysts some time back. Why would we want to leave matters to Egypt style when the ball is constitutionally and lawfully in our courts come 31st July. Lets make the best of this glorious opportunity-Fortune knocks at our door once , its now or never. Don't say I didn't warn you , forewarned is for armed beautiful Zimbabweans, you deserve better . Reclaim your International Dignity and not continue to be laughing stock So as MDC-T Supporters, Sympathizers, Progressive people craving for Change, come 31 July Lets turn out in our obvious millions yet again once and for all in order to: a)SETTLE OUR LONG STANDING SCORE IN THE BALLOT BOX FOLKS. b)TONOGADZIRISA MUBHOKISI VANHUWE. c)HAMBA LUNGISANI EBHOKISINI MADODA. PROCHANGE@gmail.com

Richard Kwetu - 29 July 2013

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