Tsvangirai speaks out

HARARE - Morgan Tsvangirai has put himself firmly on the side of the lower class with a powerful pledge that the MDC is a party of those who want to be better off and strive for a better life for themselves.

The former prime minister in an exclusive interview with the Daily News on Sunday set out the battle lines for the next election which he said will result in the MDC forming the next government, and condemned his rival President Robert Mugabe for opposing political reform and damaging the economy. 

He vowed to build an aspiration-driven nation from the wreckage of Mugabe’s disastrous economic stewardship, repeatedly stressing traditional MDC values of building national consensus, securing political legitimacy, individual effort and hard work.

Tsvangirai sought to turn his critics’ attacks on his comfortable Highlands mansion to his advantage, promising to widen privilege of the kind he is currently enjoying from perks he got from serving as prime minister.

Insisting he wanted every Zimbabwean to live in splendour after he forms an exclusive MDC government, he said he was not keen to defend privilege, but spread it.

“Do you want me to go and live in the bush so that you see that I am suffering just like the people out there,” he told the Daily News on Sunday at his Highlands home last week.

“If at all, Zanu PF should know that they have created conditions which have made us all poor. So comparing who is poorer than the other I think it is unfair. Yes I am living in this property. It is still an outstanding issue and will be resolved when the time comes but I never chose myself to come and live here. Remember I was prime minister, so it is under those circumstances that I then came to live here?”

Tsvangirai and his wife Elizabeth moved into the Highlands pad in April 2011 ahead of their wedding.

The mansion was renovated by government after the former trade unionist failed to move into Zimbabwe House — Mugabe’s former residence when he served as PM soon after independence in 1980 until 1987.

The father of six, who shared executive powers with Mugabe during the subsistence of the GNU that ended with elections last July, has a right as a sitting tenant to buy the house and has indicated his intention to do so.

Tsvangirai’s Highlands house was valued at $790 000 before improvement and officials say its value is nowhere near the $4,5 million being peddled by the Public Works ministry.

Asked if he had reached a gentleman’s agreement with Mugabe to keep the mansion, Tsvangirai said since the July 2013 poll blowout, he was yet to meet the 90-year-old Zanu PF leader.

Just before the end of the inclusive government, Tsvangirai and Mugabe negotiated a safe passage during one of their regular Monday tea meetings at State House and that both entered a gentleman’s agreement that whoever lost elections would be treated with respect.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed on an assurance that the loser would be given enough time to vacate the official residence or buy the property as in Tsvangirai’s case.

“I have never met Mugabe since the elections,” Tsvangirai said.

“I have tried to write to him saying let’s meet, I think around October last year, he has chosen not to respond but he knows the contractual obligations around this house. I am not going to compromise my principle by having a gentleman’s agreement with Mugabe.”

Tsvangirai rejected accusations that he had mellowed and toned down his criticism of the Zanu PF leader.

He said Mugabe was obsessed with him because he posed a real and present danger to his rule.

“Are you blind to the acrimony that President Mugabe has been bleating out at funerals, at weddings, every time he has had an opportunity?” Tsvangirai asked.

“Have you not heard him saying years of GNU were horror to him? So where is the buddy-buddy? I criticise President Mugabe on the omissions that has led this country to where it is today. I do not criticise him as an individual but on matters of principle, till the day I leave politics I will continue criticising him.”

He said Zimbabwe’s economy was on the slide and pledged that he was not going to stand and allow the country to continue on the slide. He said youths had a right to stage demos to demand the two million jobs that Mugabe promised.

He reiterated the need for unity among opposition forces to mount a serious challenge that he says will sweep Mugabe out of power.

In April, former MDC secretary general Tendai Biti and his allies said they were suspending Tsvangirai along with five other senior members namely MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora; deputy president Thokozani Khupe; national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa; national chairman Lovemore Moyo and his deputy Morgan Komichi.

Biti’s faction claimed Tsvangirai had been suspended from the MDC because of a “remarkable failure of leadership”.

Biti’s faction claimed the MDC’s national council had voted to suspend Tsvangirai because the party had been “transformed into a fiefdom of the leader”.

A few days later Tsvangirai’s MDC responded by expelling Biti, Elton Mangoma, Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo, the interim chairperson of the group, and others. Biti was an “opportunist” who was being manipulated by Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, Tsvangirai said.

Biti and his group accused Tsvangirai of violating the party’s constitution to advance an anti-democratic agenda.

  Tsvangirai dismissed the meeting that suspended him as “illegal, unconstitutional, illegitimate and bogus”.

Tsvangirai refused to be “debased” by appearing before a hearing convened by a leader of a rival faction.

The High Court also ruled that the Mandel meeting held by the Biti group was a legal nullity.

The court ruled that the Biti faction could not implement any resolution from the meeting, which it tried to pass for the MDC’s national council meeting.

Following the fall-out, Tsvangirai said he was still keen to have the “rebels” rejoin the “big tent”.

“Any rightful thinking Zimbabwean who wants to see change in Zimbabwe must understand that by splintering, you are supporting the status quo,” Tsvangirai told the Daily News on Sunday.

“If we come together and unite, chances of achieving change are enhanced. So, there is no fundamental flaw in calling for a big tent. What is important is for people as individuals to stop these self-serving motives and to come together and talk. Little parties, it is like adding zero plus zero, but if you think seriously and say what is my purpose, if it is to see the people achieve democratic change, then you must join forces and come together” to remove Mugabe from office.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since independence from Britain in 1980.

Comments (15)

Tsvangirai is a breath of fresh air when compared to the opportunistic Biti and his childish rhetoric. If Tsvangirai is willing to change the fundamental problem of this government chances are he can rebuild within a five year period. This government is enameled with ownership and went into the ill advised parastatal where corruption is rambart and embezzlement the norm. The funds from privatizing could be used to rebuild the government institutions and infrastructure. The government will always have their take in taxation. Mugabe will not give up power even in his own party because of the atrocities committed , yes they will come to light and there would be knatching of teeth. Also years of plunder by his ministers , former Governor of the Reserve Bank will surface and the people will take everything back

Ranganayi Rudembowafa - 7 September 2014

Tsvangirai had a perfectly good house in Harare, the house he now considers to be "bush", but his greed got the better of him when he became PM. What he has to understand is that the price that nation has had to pay for him to get the Highlands mansion was him not implementing the reforms and thus wasting the nation's best chance since independence to end the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship peacefully. As a result millions today live in abject poverty and despair and hundreds of thousands will suffer and die unnecessarily. Whilst there is nothing we can do now to turn back the clock we will make sure you never keep the Highlands bribe as a censor to your betrayal and selfish greed!

Wilbert Mukori - 7 September 2014

@ Ranganayi Tsvangirai had the chance to implement the democratic reforms during the GNU but failed to get even one reform implemented. What makes you think such an incompetent individual should be entrusted with power again?

Wilbert Mukori - 7 September 2014

Morgan aimbodya maguta ayo nyika when he was prime minister. Now he is jobless and is telling us he is withe lower class. Tava tese Save, come to Epworth, there are plenty rooms for rent.

machakachaka - 8 September 2014

Tsvangirai akakundikana. akatambisa mukana. now avakuramba kusheya power. ngativhurei maziso tirambe zvakadai.

zvirozviyedzwa - 8 September 2014

Wilbert Mukori is just an armchair critic of mostly Tsvangirayi.What reforms could MT have done during GBNU when we all know SADC sanitised a coup in Zimbabwe and the military was in control of everything. Can Mukori say what MT could have done or what if he was the could have done. He was allocated a state house and was allocated state vehicles which went along with his positionhe did not demand those perks they are written down. MT Zvirozviyedzwa, Mt does not refuse to share power it is Mbiti and Mangoma who want to use unorthodox means to remove MT. Even PM wekuLesotho akadzorerwa pachigaro not because he was right but the way they wanted him out was wrong period. Now all you who said MT failed does this improve our economy? I may not like MT by it is the way we want himout which is wrong. Like Highlanders blaming Ariel Sibanda of letting in 4 goals against DeMbare, this is what Mbiti and company are doing unfortunately the useless learned Mukori thinks otherwise.

maita - 8 September 2014

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GALLERYCARTRIDGES - 8 September 2014

Tsvangirai “shared executive powers with Mugabe during the subsistence of the GNU” only on paper. What were MDCs hoping to achieve by going into a coalition with a ZanuPF military dictatorship? I do not see the difference between MDCs and ZanuPF at the moment except the party names. If people form a political party (MDCs) they are putting themselves forward as an alternative to the incumbent administration (ZanuPF) and the moment the new party's policies rhyme or resonate or coincide with those of the incumbent administration to the point of forming a coalition then there is no point in continuing to live as a separate political party like what the MDCs have done. When people form a party they should make sure their policies and those of the other parties do not at any point rhyme or resonate or coincide otherwise it leaves the voters with no alternative and leads to voter apathy. People say why risk life and limb to vote for MDC when they are going to form another coalition and leave us in a lurch while they enjoy their cabinet positions? There is no such thing as common national interests in politics. There shouldn't be. Victims of political violence in 2008 are still picking up the pieces of their shattered lives while politicians like Tsvangirai are ensconced in new houses in Highlands without a care in the world and making preparations for yet another coalition with ZanuPF.

Musona - 8 September 2014

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water 1 - 8 September 2014

@ Maita THE TROUBLE WITH PEOPLE LIKE YOU IS THAT YOUR BRAIN IS HARD WIRED TO FOLLOW LIKE SHEEP WITHOUT EVER ASKING WHERE YOU ARE GOING. IT IS IMPERMEABLE TO REASON OTHERWISE YOU WOULD NOT BE ASKING THESE STUPID QUESTIONS. FORGET WHAT SADC OR ANYONE ELSE SAID, TSVANGIRAI PROMISED THAT THE COPAC CONSTITUTION WOULD DELIVER FREE, FAIR AND CREDIBLE ELECTIONS AND ASKED THE NATION TO VOTE YES TO APPROVE IT IN THE REFERENDUM. FOURS MONTHS LATTER HE ADMITTED THAT THE ELECTIONS WERE RIGGED. SADC LITERALLY BEGGED HIM NOT TO TAKE PART IN THE ELECTIONS WITHOUT THE REFORMS BUT THE IDIOT PAID NO HEED. TSVANGIRAI IS INCOMPETENT AND YOU NEED TO OPEN YOUR EYES TO THAT REALITY.

Wilbert Mukori - 8 September 2014

@MUSONA IT IS TRUE THAT THE GPA LET A LOT TO BE DESIRED BUT EVEN THEN MDC COULD HAVE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT IF THEY HAD IMPLEMENTED THE AGREED DEMOCRATIC REFORMS, THEY FAILED TO GET EVEN ONE REFORM IMPLEMENTED. THERE WERE TWO REASON WHY THIS HAPPENED; ONE, THEY ARE CORRUPT AND TWO THEY ARE BREATHTAKINGLY INCOMPETENT!

Wilbert Mukori - 8 September 2014

bob said elections will be held with or without a constitution so what reforms are u talking about .The simple fact is that dictators knows no dialogue so there was no room for MDC in the so called GNU .MDC saved the masses by joining that GNU otherwise the dogs of war would have killed and maimed innocent zimbos.

reason - 8 September 2014

dai vakangopinda pabasa voita zvebasa. Manjevakatoti chanzi yekutsvaga upfumi nema small house. sera vanhu vavakuvaramba. Good chanzi yakutambiswa munhu achiroora katatu katatu. manje so here boys?

zvirozviyedzwa - 8 September 2014

The GNU was an arrangement made by the Almighty Lord himself, The Lord so loves Zimbabwe that he wanted the people of Zim to see Tsvangirai and his impudent cohorts for the ineptitude and indirectness they are first hand and also they were given that chance when Tsvangirai was not accorded the full wand to rule the Country. Thank you Lord..You're in control

heaveneaveah - 8 September 2014

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