We are the only game in town: Tsvangirai

HARARE - Last week our chief reporter Fungisai Kwaramba (FK) spoke to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai (MT) about the state of the economy and the power struggles in the opposition, and the way forward for Zimbabwe.

FK: Let’s talk about the economy first. As the main opposition party, what do you think needs to be done to stop the decay we are noticing?

MT: The imperative is that this economy needs revival but Zanu PF does not have the means and the tools to revive the economy because the conditions are just rigid.

How do you revive the economy when there is no stability, when all the elements of an economic performance are negative?

From our side, there are a number of things that need to be done including resolving the political crisis caused by illegitimacy.

That is why some from the civil society are calling for convergence to resolve the political crisis.

FK: Are you going holidaying this festive season?

MT: When I went to my rural home in Buhera, I just visited them on a weekend and when I left my mother was saying tozoonana paChristmas (We will see you on Christmas day),  unfortunately I could not make it, and she asked how will she celebrate Christmas then.

It is typical of a rural family with no breadwinner, how are they going to survive? It’s a bleak festive season.

It is totally different from the Christmases that people used to have. If people in urban areas fail to go to their homes, how are they supposed to celebrate it?

We know Christmas as the time when people celebrate and meet, but the bleakness seems to cut across the rural-urban divide.

FK: And we have witnessed some clashes between your supporters and Zanu PF. What is happening, are we going to see a rise in cases of violence as we approach the 2018 elections?

MT: They have to disrupt the MDC meetings, they know that the MDC is the only political game in town that can end the madness and political leadership failure that has characterised this country, so by any means, any form of mobilisation must be crushed and that is why we have witnessed.

It’s the nature of a dictator, but dictators will always fall, they cannot survive when  people live in poverty.

Let’s find solace in the fact that this dictatorship has nowhere to go, it is trapped in its own political and economic quagmire.

FK: But it seems as if the MDC is presently weak, can it really mount a strong challenge to Zanu PF?

MT: Look at what the MDC has achieved since its formation and what is the political context under which the MDC has had to operate, and what is the measurement of weakness?

The MDC came on the scene when the crisis of leadership had manifested itself and the fact that the MDC established itself in the national psyche demonstrates that it was a people’s project whose time had come to challenge the Zanu PF hegemony and it had succeeded in doing so.

If there is any fear in Zanu PF it is the fear of the MDC. We have won against all odds, we have won against violence, we have won against State machinery, a monopolised public media. We now have a Constitution against the resistance of Zanu PF.

That Constitution has set a new political culture and there is no going back, that is why Zanu PF is resisting implementing it.

We cannot go back to the government of national unity, Zanu PF having failed, begged the MDC to rescue the situation.

FK: But people are getting frustrated with the MDC...

MT: I hear what people say, “but you are failing to dislodge Zanu PF.” We are not a military organisation.

If we look at the liberation struggle, it took many years trying to remove the settlers. We are not an armed guerrilla movement, we are a democratic party.

The difficult part is how do you remove an entrenched dictatorship through democratic means.

It is a tall order and it can only be testified by people who have been in the trenches, people who have been raped, and people who have been traumatised by this regime.

I don’t see the opposition as weak but I see them as confronting a dictatorship in very difficult times.

FK: What about the fragmentation of the MDC?

MT: The bulk of the people, the majority of the people are committed to change, of course they would be fringe activities that may lead to fragmentation and splits but the bulk of the people of this country are committed and convinced about the right for change in this country, whether a few people break away but there is a commitment to change.

I think, at the moment, the opposition has come to coalesce around convention around issues rather than occupy themselves with positions.

FK: But the MDC keeps on splitting...

MT: It is part of the struggle, the lessons of the struggle. I think Zanu PF has also split just like the MDC, and don’t equalise the two splits.

Splits in Zanu PF are more dangerous because it is the ruling party and those splits actually cause instability where the president (Robert Mugabe) stands up and starts castigating the securocrats.

It’s very dangerous. Where the president stands up and starts castigating the war veterans as if they did not make any contribution, so you can see a split in the State is very dangerous.

FK: You talk often about the big tent. Have you tried to reach out to some who walked out of the MDC.

MT: We have done everything on our part to ensure that people understand the process of unity.

There is already an understanding in the opposition that we need electoral reforms, who doesn’t need reforms?

People of Zimbabwe should be able to choose their leader freely and we are hoping that there will be more convergence on the economy, on the Constitution and how we want to be ruled as a country. These are matters that have nothing to do with individuals but are institutional.

FK: You have a party and Mai Mujuru is still to launch hers, do you see yourself getting involved with them?

MT: First and foremost, I have always said that in the spirit of the big tent anyone who subscribes to the democratic ideals is welcome and if People First launch their party, they are welcome; we will definitely work with them.

The problem with people is, you look at personalities, these are institutional relations.

Obviously for me, I have nothing against People First, but actually feel sorry for them because they were working in a party that can eat its own children.

We believe in a new direction for the people and that does not involve Zanu PF.

FK: Some accuse you of having a big brother mentality.

MT: How have I demonstrated that I want to be the big brother? We have treated everyone equally.

This process of regrouping of opposition parties does not need any big brother, you have to treat each other equally.

There is no such thing as big party, small party, and everyone can make a contribution.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, the Mangomas of this world the Bitis of this world, if they want to play a relevant role for this country, if they are really serious about representing the people then you will find me very accommodative.

I don’t bear grudges with anyone. Of course, there are some who walked away citing grievances but when it comes to the question of the people and their objectives, you will find me very cooperative.

FK: Let us talk about factionalism in the MDC, the State media says Nelson Chamisa leads a faction and you also lead another. What is your take on this?

MT: There are people who are not ready to see the MDC united. There are people who have their own imaginations of divisions, and we are not Zanu PF.

They want to compare us with Zanu PF. No. Chamisa is not even in the standing committee, and he is a member of the executive.

How do you have a faction of a member of the national executive fighting a member of the standing committee, how does that happen.

I would imagine this issue of factionalism lives in the imagination of certain media but it won’t happen.

We work very smoothly with Chamisa. He has been appointed to coordinate policy and he is playing his role, that is how a party should work, division of labour, there is only one leader at a time.

I am talking of a big tent beyond the party. How do I then lead a faction? There is no substance.

FK: You have a new expensive car.

MT: Moda ndifambe netsoka here (You want me to be a pedestrian?), I didn’t buy that vehicle. It was brought by the party.

If you see the cars we were now using, you  would be shocked. They are run down.

There are some people who have an obsession with Tsvangirai and I tell you they will be having more skeletons in the cupboard.

Comments (15)

Mr Tsvangirai has a heculien task ahead of him,more than zanupf.no money,dwindling suport base,brocken structures,abandoned by donars n ambassadors.they expect nothing from him.Bt he is a beter opponent to zanu than the unforseen leader to emerge.a punch bag.Zanu culd do well to give him some cash to finance his party coz he mite flop b4 2018.what then?In all honesty he mite have to leave when mugabe leaves.The 2 have head their time.In zanu there is wars to replace mugabe,after that war ,whoever emerges he will have everyone in zanu behind him.In mdc?nope.they tried to change themselves bt its still to be game on.Its time up for mr prime minister.take a knap in Highlands n watch,like mandela.maybe that way yu exit with pride.

viola gwena - 30 December 2015

MDC is a spent force. I spend 7hrs in 2008 and 4hrs in 2013 in a long winding Q to cast my vote, zanu pf stole it and Tsvangirai did nothing, zero , about it. Never will i waste my time on clueless politicians again

mafikizolo - 30 December 2015

Not even a word about Itai one must imagine how his family is feeling at this time of the year just there for themselves and another pastor is jailed (he must have a family) an not a word from Morgan shame on Morgan

Chongololo - 30 December 2015

I think C10s should leave daily news and should only read their boring, lying and stale herald and Sunday mail what has Save done wrong u are so blind on the evilness of ur master that u attack an innocent man ur master should give us Itai he should also pay people their salaries and bonuses in time where is he right now if Save was in his position he would not have gone for holiday he has people at heart Save does not owe us Itai its Bob who knows where they put him

moses - 30 December 2015

The way CIOs work can surprise u, they create problems then they shift them to Tsvangirai..... what a shame. When zanu had a conference in vic falls didi mugabe talk about Itai? Or even some of the abductions taking place? Why did u pple not question him? Now u talk about Save.... imbwa dzavanhu. Leave our Tsvangirai alone. NdiSave avo chikara chamugabe u will shout and shout only to wake up and find that he is still kicking and ticking. MaCIO matako enyu.

dembo - 30 December 2015

it so interesting to hear people waffle as they try to indirectly defend Mugabe.tsvangirai is the only voice you can hear right now either criticising zanupf or suggesting how best zimbabweans can come together as a united force in an election and fight the ruining part.so those who feel he is not doing enough join zanupf quietly and see if we will miss you

themba bhebhe - 30 December 2015

I agree wth gwena,I gt nothing frm suporting tsvangi.he let me dwn big time.what wth those women isues he strugled with.was it cio?mdc when yu confrunted with facts yu hide in cio.yu wr part of govenment bt nt even once yu tried to expose cio.I think yu even used them thats why yu respect them.

jabu - 30 December 2015

Jabu ur master had kids with someone's wife when his wife was on her death bed but u are silent Save did what any normal man would do his wife was dead killed ruthlessly by ur master and remember u c10s were send to seduce him l forgive him but l don't forgive Bob his wife died bitter maybe its Gire who finished Sally off looking at her now l think she is capable of that she is a witch

moses - 31 December 2015

The state of the nation has been precipitated by zanu pf. We are yet to see how Tsvangirai is going to offer his services should he be elected. There are a lot of mentally fucked up idiots who want to talk about zim's problems as if they are of MDC's making. Get help before doctors go on strike!!!!!!!!

Phillip Kucherera - 1 January 2016

SAVE we salute you,I wonder why people see the negative in MT.Even the reporter questions MT negative questions alone.Its ok we know that the reporters have to be objective but in her questions I don't seem to see any statement that acknowledges MT's time as The Primeminister in the unity govt.How do people expect MT and MDC to run the country when they are not in govt.Where do people get information about factionalism in MDC?Why do people think MT is a spent force? People always think about change in MDC leadership structures why?What has MT done wrong as our leader? We still need him in that post.Its dangerous at this time to contemplate having a new person for the post of Presidency in MDC Have you not seen Ncube,Mangoma,Gwisai,Biti what sort of options were they to the opposition politics?only to cause splits.MT is still our option and people love him.Zimbabweans be warned that Zim politics takes time to view maturity in any leadership.Its a weakness that we take long to lose support for one leader but its good for us to still consider SAVE as the only alternative for now because he is the only one strong enough and good enough to care for people truely

midlands patriot - 1 January 2016

very correct @jabu. mdc t agents hide from facts by citing c10s. why not just give facts for people to see. mt promised everyone in 1999 that he would not go the zanu way of handiende and would give power to someone come 2014. did he do it? no. the guy tasted the sweetness of power. now he is doctoring the constitution to legitimise his overstay. he purges those who oppose him just like it is in zanu. there is no difference.

zvirozviyedzwa - 1 January 2016

the problems of zimbabwe are not solely for one person mt. this is the problem we created with rgm. the whole nation should never rely on one individual. the result of such a scenario is that the individual will in the end entrench himself with too much power and it will take forever to transfer it. going forward, parties should be bigger than individuals not the way it is now even in the mdc. terms of office should therefore be limited to three whether it be opposition or the ruling party.

zvirozviyedzwa - 1 January 2016

Could MT have done something about the stolen elections, probably yes. Some people need a leadership to galvanise support for mass action. Have I heard him being called 'Mr Boycott', yes, in a derogatory manner. Could the general populace have done something about it, probably yes. The Arab spring is a case in point. If the truth be told, ZANU-pf regime is not only a physical but a mental dictatorship that has worked more on the national-psyche effectively. The strategy may have outlived its usefulness. The pawns in the game, namely war vets and securocratic instruments are being criticised. Everyone now realises that RGM is a selfish 'man-eating' monster. Ask Mutasa, mai Mujuru etc. I disrespect the so-called 'educated elite' who selfishly try to wriggle power from MT. The people see through their machinations. Ask Ncube, Biti, Gwisai, Mangoma etc. even those from without like Mutambara failed to join the people's project for selfish reasons . Jonso in one election was allowed free hand in Tsholotsho by MDC only to then turn against the MDC like the chameleon he is. It's not so much about MT that we find the nation in this catamose state but us as the general populace . Who can blame us? Fear instilled into the hearts of all. Indoctrination of masses. 2016 and not 2018 is the definitive year for Zimbabwe. Key questions for the downtrodden and even the dictators are: Can you psychologically induce fear into the economy even with a promise of written off debts and more yuan? Answer is probably NO. Can you indoctrinate the economy, probably not. Ask Chinamasa who when he tried that at the behest of RGM failed to timely give civil servants dues in December. The real Muporofita has spoken.

Muporofita - 2 January 2016

this man has tried ..people should complement him..he is consistent ...the likes of biti, mangomas, simba makoni, mujuru ..they are letting us down.

velekantibabebuzebathini - 5 January 2016

Most of you making noise here are cowards, who just want to make noise behind your old useless desktops. Come join us and Tsvangirai in the struggles! Mese muri magwara anotya kufa! Moda kuti Tsvangirai adii?

MkanyaGP - 5 January 2016

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