Tsvangirai appeals to Mugabe

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says President Robert Mugabe’s government will buckle under the pressure of mounting economic woes, and a belief by many Zimbabweans that he stole the July 31 elections and must urgently open national dialogue to resolve the deepening crisis.

Tsvangirai is still disputing the election, which he lost to Mugabe by a wide margin. But as his fraud claims get nowhere, the former Prime Minister says other forces may sink the socialist leader and force him into national dialogue.

“The economic crisis is a symptom of the political crisis of legitimacy because that is the one that undermines the confidence in the economy,” Tsvangirai told the Daily News in an exclusive interview published in full on Page 6.

“You know, for the last five years, the economy was stabilised because of confidence in the economy due to political stability.

“Now, because if the crisis of legitimacy, as a result of a rigged election, already, it’s a crisis that has undermined economic confidence to the extent that all sectors have now been affected. There is a legitimacy crisis.

“If there is a political crisis you need national dialogue. You need national dialogue to resolve that national crisis. And in this case, Zanu PF must accept the responsibility that it must take the initiative to find a national consensus on the national crisis. Otherwise they are burying their head in the sand when they know the situation is not sustainable.”

Tsvangirai has abandoned his Constitutional Court challenge to Mugabe’s landslide victory in last year’s elections, saying he had been denied the polling evidence to prove his case, allowing the government to attack him as a sore loser.

Now he and other opposition leaders seem to be banking on a steady deterioration in Mugabe’s popularity and power.

One possibility hawked by Tsvangirai is for the ruling Zanu PF to acknowledge the intensity of the economic crisis hardly a year into Mugabe’s presidency, and open a “national dialogue” to fix the economic malaise.

He said he was not proposing another government of national unity.

“National dialogue, all I am putting as a premise is that the national dialogue must be a national dialogue of all stakeholders unlike the previous one which was an elite pact between two or three political parties,” he said.

“This time we need to expand to include churches, students, to include trade unions, to include other political parties because we are trying to find a national consensus as to the way forward. We cannot then define what that way forward is until that national dialogue is organised.”

The ruling Zanu PF has rejected talks with Tsvangirai, saying he misses the lucrative government perks.

Tsvangirai implored Mugabe, with whom he served as prime minister in a fractious coalition government since disputed and bloody elections in 2008, to swallow his pride and acknowledge the deepening economic crisis.

While Tsvangirai acknowledges that he does not have the leverage to force this dialogue given that the 90-year-old incumbent defeated him by 61 percent to 34, he said the leverage will come as the national crisis deepens and people search for solutions.

Some opponents, though, say Zimbabwe’s economic problems — slowing growth, deflation, and hard currency bottlenecks — may prove too much for Mugabe even forcing him to accede to national dialogue.

Tsvangirai said Zanu PF’s apparent failure to deliver on its election promises was another factor to watch.

“How then do you say I am the legitimate party in government when you cannot even solve one problem 10 months after the election?” Tsvangirai asked.

Opinion polls just before the July vote had shown Tsvangirai in a statistical dead heat with Mugabe. 

Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF says the post-election dispute has laid bare Tsvangirai’s desperation, and officials vilify the opposition leader daily as a desperate man fighting a mounting internal rebellion.

Speaking during a luncheon to celebrate his belated 90th birthday organised by the Public Service Commission, Mugabe  said his electoral victory had devastated the opposition, which has suspended a senior official who had asked Tsvangirai to step down in a move which has widened cleavages in a party recovering from a crushing election defeat last year.

“I want to thank you for that historic act,” Mugabe said last week. “It mesmerised not just masahwira edu ataimwa tea nawo (colleagues we were close to), it disorganised them as you can see, takuvanzwira tsitsi (we feel sorry for them),” Mugabe said in a mocking tone.

In a reprise of the frequent spats between the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition MDC, the ruling party says Tsvangirai was facing a rebellion after going back on his pledge to step down after losing the third presidential election to Mugabe.

MDC deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma has raised the ire of Tsvangirai’s supporters by penning a damning letter in January asking the opposition leader to resign, arguing that he had dismally failed to effect reforms while in the four-year power-sharing government with Mugabe.

Tsvangirai, who campaigned on a platform of introducing a mix of free-market policies and strong welfare protection, yesterday mocked Mangoma’s plethora of accusations.

“A congress is the one that bestows the mandate on any leader,” Tsvangirai told the Daily News.

“I don’t subscribe to the notion that in asking for leadership renewal you are calling for hostile takeover or a coup as it were, through memos or letters.

“You go to a congress, you put yourself up as a candidate and the people have the right to choose. You can’t then say, Tsvangirai get away, step down, because we feel you should step down. No. Two-and-half years into my mandate, you can’t then demand and you say voluntary resignation.”

While disputing claims that he was going back on his pledge to step down if he loses the presidential vote, Tsvangirai said if he had lost the election openly and freely, he would have  considered stepping down.

“I am not backtracking from anything,” he told the Daily News.

“All I am saying is that the last election was not free and fair. I did not lose the last election. I won it, it was rigged massively. So you cannot then say I should be answerable for an election that was not free and fair. So I am not backtracking from the philosophy, from the principle that losing a free and fair election, definitely I would have stepped down.  But I did not lose.”

Tsvangirai took a relatively moderate line against Mugabe during last year’s presidential election campaign, but has been consistently aggressive since the vote.

He admitted that he regretted going into the polls unprepared.

“I think, on hindsight, one would have said that going into an election without a voters’ roll was suicidal, without the necessary reforms was suicidal,” Tsvangirai admitted.

“But the popular base and the momentum built during the campaign, I think overwhelmed us to the extent that I think people were so confident that whatever rigging would be overwhelmed by the numbers.”

Comments (38)

I think Mr. tsvangirayi has lost it..why should ZANU want to have this national dialogue when they are in the driving seat and if the whole thing is going to blow up in their faces what concern of his is this? Shouldnt he be helping precipitate this headlong march into oblivion..what does he hope to get in return for pulling the ZANU chestnuts out of the fire? He must not say he is doing this because of his love for the people..this a hollow well beaten path..nobody believes this! Rather than make a fool of himself why does he not get his party back on greased grooves then start talking about this "I want to save the land"..he may have been cheated in the polls but he is failing dismally to manage the aftermath..why not withdraw back to the drawing board rather than have people believe you are cosying to Mr. Mugabe who you say cheated you for that Highlands mansion? This might not be true but it does look from outside like this is really the case not this love the land nonsense!

gutter poet - 19 March 2014

Both of u Tsvangirai n Mugabe we the people are fed up wth u........u r vampires who thrive on the poor man's blood masquareding as leaders with people @ heart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

arlee - 19 March 2014

Did all the Presidents who were removed thru coups were warned by the coup plotters.Food for thought.

Beyond - 19 March 2014

Did all the Presidents who were removed thru coups were warned by the coup plotters.Food for thought.

Beyond - 19 March 2014

Zanu are not in the driving seat if anything. Its a car without a steering wheel, gears or pedals. So how do you know this is the driving seat? There is nothing to drive here. The economy is collapsing under their watch, they cant pay workers, companies are closing down and retrenching, vanhu vakuvara nemafloods yet the govt cant even help haina kana cent! (of course they can spend the little they have on silly birthday parties and weddings)

Tongogara weChachacha - 19 March 2014

TSVANGISON SUCKS!!

Rev. Com Council - 19 March 2014

@beyond, whats your point?

kekule - 19 March 2014

Tsvangirai you are always dreaming. You have not learnt anything from Zanu pf during your foolish unit government. Do what you know best ie chasing women. You are a disgrace. You have been cheating on us for a long time

stayalert - 19 March 2014

"Going into the election without the voters roll was suicidal and going into the elections without the necessary reforms was suicidal." You have just made a case against your continuing presedency of MDC Tsvangirai. It is time to go for the good of the party. Morgan is accusing Mugabe of sucrificing the welfare of the Zimbabweans for his personal gains. It seems Tsvangirai he is doing the same. You saved us well we need new blood and ideas.

Mutero Karanda - 19 March 2014

The President (Mugabe) will not vacate office as long as Tsvangirai wants to be the next president.

Wings of change - 19 March 2014

Sure they are in the driving seat. Driving us around the bend with worry about the future. I echo the sentiments of others who say the car they claim to be driving is incomplete. It has everything except wheels so it cannot go anywhere.

saundy - 19 March 2014

pLEASE DAILY NEWS REMOVE THE PICTURE OF SIMBA WE ARE TIRED OF SEEING IT

DAVID - 19 March 2014

pLEASE DAILY NEWS REMOVE THE PICTURE OF SIMBA WE ARE TIRED OF SEEING IT

DAVID - 19 March 2014

"I did not lose the last election. I won it, it was rigged massively." & some pin their hopes on such?

Lt General - 19 March 2014

tsvangirai is always our president. together we stand by him. save handei mberi nenyika

teurai ropa - 19 March 2014

tsvangison has reached a cul de sac(dead end) pass on the baton to the brainy in your party maybe they might take zim somewhere.

Cde Churucheminzwa - 19 March 2014

the fact is we are tired of zanu pf,they failed already so wat are they doing.just playing around with people,we will support you tsvangirai we know their tricks

tauya - 19 March 2014

the fact is we are tired of zanu pf,they failed already so wat are they doing.just playing around with people,we will support you tsvangirai we know their tricks

tauya - 19 March 2014

Removing Tsvangison will not solve any problems, It only serves to strengthen ZPf. If yu remove him what will the next leader achieve in such a skewed political landscape. The best of the best will still fail because of Mugabe's point man spread thru out the entire electoral process and judiciary and security sector. Joshua Nkomo lost every election to Mugabe but no one asked him to resign.

Rook - 19 March 2014

This makes such sad reading... how can he honestly claim he did not lose. God help MDC T

Mdhara - 19 March 2014

tsvangiirai is witless leader when Dabengwa told the world that it was pointless to go into the elections with a voters role that had many iregularities him tsvangirai refared zapu to a scared small party. and believed baba ka Jukwa that him tsvangirai would win the polls. mdc t should know that Tsvangirai is not a leader he is a newspaper product with no vision and strategy . just call it a day and give others a chance

lungani - 19 March 2014

Our Tswangirai is sanctions crazy, when things are bad for people, he is seeing an opportunity to rule Zim, why cant he patiently bring solution to people woohs then we can see him as a passionate leader.

George Phiri - 20 March 2014

Tsvangirai, just like before 2008 should be trying his best to convince us with alternative policies that will work instead of making efforts to sit down and have tea with Mugabe again. No wonder they are now telling us that you miss the good old days when you were Prime Minister.

Dr Know - 20 March 2014

ZANU PF government is run like driving a car which is running out of few when the journey is still long

Gweje - 20 March 2014

Last kicks of a dying horse unrepentant sinners muchakuvara zvenyu

protestor - 20 March 2014

Leadership renewal is the way forward for the MDC, Tsvangirai has no clue of how to take Zanu PF out of power. We need strategists people who are willing to scarifice everything to take this party out. Without that it is all just wishful thinking.

Timeup - 20 March 2014

Leadership renewal is the way forward for the MDC, Tsvangirai has no clue of how to take Zanu PF out of power. We need strategists people who are willing to sacrifice everything to take this party out. Without that it is all just wishful thinking.

Timeup - 20 March 2014

Mazimbo...kunyora mumablog nemapepa nhau nokutaura asi chabuda hapana...munoshorana, kunyombana chabuda hapana. There is a need for mindset change so that we have a proper target and clear objectives...!

Mangoma - 20 March 2014

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GALLERYCARTRIDGE - 20 March 2014

This goblin by the name TSVANCRY, OPEN ZIP, SHUT MIND Should never be given space in a normal newspaper. Zveuyu ngazvitaurwe kuma kuva chete.

reason - 20 March 2014

Inorder for this vehicle to move forward these politicians must cast away their personal egos and consider building the nation. That is why the first world countries are first class per ser, simply because they put their people first. If these politicians look at the state of the nation and its people, is the anything to be proud of? This politics business should be premised on a higher calling and not on self gratification sub-plots.

Marangwanda - 20 March 2014

Its too little too late Morgan. You were warned by many, including SADC, not to proceed with that election but the smell of power was too much for you to resist. Your hunger for immediate power let the nation down and we will never forgive you for it.

Johno - 20 March 2014

Tsvangirayi and those who still support him are living in a fantasy land....If ZANU(PF) could withstand the economic decline of 2006-2008 without needing a political dialogue with MDC they think now with sanctions being removed,a US$ economy,Diamonds and a more than 2 thirds election which has been recognized by virtually EVERY nation under the sun...Now ZANU they think ZANU is so weak as to need them??? Or is this as many have said desperation for the gravy train from Save?? Didn't Save say he would retire if he lost the July 2013 elections???? Now he goes back to his tried and tested method of campaigning for economic decline so that zvinhu zviwome then he negotiates another GNU and hopes Mugabe dies ari Prime Ministe kuti pa musical chairs dze succession anenge aripoo nana Mai Mujuru?? Save should know when to call it a day...This is embarrassing now.

wezhira wezhara - 20 March 2014

Truly the country is burning there is need to cater for national dialogue there is need for political maturity elections have long gone. Its not business as usual

protestor - 21 March 2014

its time for every zimbabwean regardless of party affiliation to come together and save the sinking titanic . The west no matter how they differ politically they dont comprise on defending and protecting economic stability. Thats why they are called "smart". They do not marvel in the suffering of their people in order to build their political careers. Thats why even today they able to maitain their first world class. If we were first world class with this wierd political mind , we could have lost it long back. Forward with unity for there is power in unity.

chris gees - 25 March 2014

tsvangirai should should jst get lost,he is just an opportunist and these are the kick of a dying "chicken",hehas failed n his mandate,he cant beat the old man legitimately and illegimitely,,this is just a tough wake up call..good grief,let him continue blabbermouthing and continue being a competitor in a one horse race.ongozvinyaradzawo zvake kuti ane some followers but pachigaro aulumi,the best shot was being prime minister..its over...zimbabwe mndeyeropa and haina kuuya nepen nepaper,

banx - 25 March 2014

Tsvangson is behaving like a true father who knows the grassroots is suffering. Asking him to step down because he failed to beat Mugabe is a case for his party via congress, true patriots see beyond party lines when there is a crisis. True Zimbabwe is currently in a crisis and nobody can deny that except if you are enjoying the diaspora like most comments above. Leadership renewal is coming up at the congress of MDC-T and those who think are 'new' can then take over. The congress issue is decided according to the constitution and if you want otherwise you need to ammend that constitution by the marjority; that is democracy.

Qawe laMaqawe - 25 March 2014

I think people are saying as it is, there is no way we can be seen to suffer if we are of the same mind. Morgan is after power and doesn't mind how many are suffering, the 2008-9 memories down the line will tell repeatedly and who ever doubt his cruelty shall live to see it. The country is Zimbabwe and it's for Zimbabweans, why sacrificing each other for the sake of power? Who will admire your authority when all are hungry? Today you talking about dialogue, when you went out there calling for help whom did you expect to bring the dialogue?...No wonder they are calling you "open zip and shut your mind", you definitely need to have people at heart before you dream of being powerful. All these problems we are facing are as a result of your poor reasoning. Revise your foot steps boy.

Mbada Murenje - 26 March 2014

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