HARARE - Opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has described Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is heavily tipped to succeed President Robert Mugabe, as an unpopular strongman who cannot win an election.
Addressing supporters at a rally in Harare’s Kuwadzana high density suburb yesterday, Tsvangirai said he would embarrass Mnangagwa come 2018 should Zanu PF make the “mistake” of presenting him as their presidential candidate.
Tsvangirai said he was not in the same political league with Mnangagwa whom he described as visionless.
“I often hear him saying nonsense but I want to tell Mnangagwa one thing and that is I do not compete with you because first division does not compete with fourth division. I will give you (Blessing) Chebundo,” said Tsvangirai adding that there was no way he would fail to defeat him “when I managed to beat Mugabe in 2008”.
“Let us be fair here, the man does not have a vision. The man is empty upstairs. I have listened to him talk at rallies concentrating on the MDC split when his party is splitting in front of him.”
Mnangagwa has a history of electoral defeats having been defeated by Chebundo in the 2000 parliamentary elections in the battle for Kwekwe constituency, but Mugabe appointed him as one of the unelected MPs in Parliament.
In the March 2005 parliamentary elections, he was again defeated by Chebundo in Kwekwe, and Mugabe again appointed him to an unelected seat.
However, in the March 2008 parliamentary election, he stood as Zanu PF’s candidate in the new Chirumanzu-Zibagwe rural constituency and won, receiving 9 645 votes against two MDC candidates, Mudavanhu Masendeke and Thomas Michael Dzingisai, who respectively received 1 548 and 894 votes.
Tsvangirai, who constantly broke into gospel songs in between his speech, was not finished with his attack on Zanu PF top officials.
In apparent reference to a top Zanu PF official who is being accused of being gay, the former prime minister said he was saddened that there were men who took other men for wives.
“Kunozotiwo ichi chemutsipa ichi chinofemera mugotsi mevamwe varume imo munyika makazara vakadzi kudai vamwe vari kutoshaya vanochengeta.
(Then there is this one, whom we hear is in the habit of following up on men making them wives. It is shocking in a country where women are this plenty with others even looking for men to take care of them. It is embarrassing,” said Tsvangirai.
He said there was no need to talk about Mugabe anymore as he belonged to the past generation.
“We thank them (liberation generation) for their sacrifice but unfortunately, they have overstayed their welcome because the vision they had to liberate is not the same vision that is needed today to develop”.
Turning to the Africa Day commemorations, the MDC leader expressed sadness that the unity of African nations was being celebrated while most countries on the continent were now “closed societies”.
He took a swipe at Africa liberation icon Kwame Nkrumah for calling on Africans to seek political freedom first saying everything else would follow.
“Was Nkrumah right or wrong? Of course, he was wrong because we also need economic freedom. Political freedom without economic freedom is meaningless. We do not eat flags and national anthems. We need jobs,” he charged.
Tsvangirai reiterated his call for electoral reforms accusing the country’s security forces under the Joint Operations Command (Joc) of being the chief architects of rigging elections in Zanu PF’s favour.
“So when we say no reforms no elections there are reasons. It is this animal called Joc that has been denying us victory ever since and that is why we are calling for security sector reforms. We do not seek to create another army or police force but just reforms.”