You can't stop me: Tsvangirai

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has warned that nobody can stop him from leading mass demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s misrule, saying the MDC has a constitutional right to congregate at any time and place whenever it so wishes.

Addressing a media conference at his party’s Harvest House headquarters in Harare yesterday, Tsvangirai rejected with contempt last week’s claims by police that the MDC’s mass actions constituted a threat to national security.

“The MDC is not a threat to national stability. So, there should be no threat from any quarter, from any institution, about crushing the people’s will to express themselves as has been said by the spokesperson for the police,” the former prime minister in the government of national unity said.

“I want to warn that such an action will be unconstitutional and as far as we are concerned, we are not going to abide by unconstitutional action by the police.

“We will abide by what the courts say and the same applies to national institutions like the army.

“We believe in the army protecting the people of Zimbabwe and not to threatening the democratic right of Zimbabweans to organise themselves, to express themselves,” he added.

His sharp comments follow threats by police to ban future demonstrations by the MDC, on the pretext that last week’s protest had allegedly degenerated into chaos after Tsvangirai’s supporters were said by authorities to have attacked a security guard at Choppies Supermarket — a grocery chain associated with one of Mugabe’s vice presidents, Phelekezela Mphoko.

Police also unsuccessfully attempted to stop the MDC’s protest march last week, with the High Court later ruling that the demo should proceed and that the State pays the opposition party’s legal costs.

Afterwards, police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba claimed that MDC supporters had spawned chaos in the capital’s central business district, warned that this could mean that future such demos could be banned to protect life and property.

“They (MDC supporters) blocked traffic for about an hour and also disturbed some Harare City Council officials who were conducting their work . . . before they attacked the (Choppies) security guard,” Charamba claimed, threatening to challenge court orders in future if demos resulted in violence and the destruction of property.

But many observers have contradicted the police’s version of events, noting emphatically that last week’s massive protest march had been both successful and peaceful.

Tsvangirai said yesterday that an issue that needed serious and urgent consideration by law enforcement was constitutionalism, as well as application of the rule of law.

“If I were in government, when people express themselves, I would take heed of that expression and deal with the issues that they are raising rather than threaten them through unconstitutional means.

“The other day we had the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (General Constantine) Chiwenga publicly stating that they came from Zanu PF and that they are stakeholders of that political party, itself a contravention of the Constitution,” he said — referring to a recent controversial interview that the country’s top securocrat granted to lapdog State media.

The ZDF commander claimed in his interview that there were unspecified “machinations” by what he referred to as “Zimbabwe’s enemies” to destablise the country — allegedly using local elements.

Chiwenga also claimed that the same plots had been tried during the liberation struggle but failed, citing the Nhari and Vashandi rebellions — describing the security forces as the country’s national insurance policy that guaranteed peace all the time.

He further claimed that the ZDF were “stockholders” of Zimbabwe, and not just stakeholders — in a comment that solicited widespread condemnation, including from within Zanu PF.

Tsvangirai reiterated yesterday that the MDC’s demonstrations were an expression of the people’s growing frustration and disillusionment with their worsening lot, adding that he was also confident that he would win the 2018 elections.

“We have always won elections, but the critical issue is not about winning elections, it is about winning power. You all know that in 2008 we won the election and we have been winning all elections.

“The problem has been the absence of a mechanism to transient from an entrenched dictatorship to a democratic dispensation. That has been the issue. If we run a free and fair election, we have no doubt that we will win the election again as we have won before.

“So, we are very confident as we have always been. The crisis we face in the country is the crisis of legitimacy arising out of the refusal to observe the will of the people and Zanu PF’s tendency to subvert that will. That is the crisis we face in the country,” the MDC leader said.

He said his party’s demonstrations were part of the process towards democratic change, adding that such transition would not happen overnight.

“When the MDC does nothing, it is condemned and when it does something we are also condemned. So, what do you want us to do? ... and please, it’s very easy to condemn,” he said in apparent reference to the criticism of the party’s demos that has come from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

PDP deputy secretary-general Tongai Matutu claimed last week that Tsvangirai was allegedly abusing his large political following, but failing to provide much-needed answers to the country’s problems.

“If you’re going to call for Mugabe to go, will he go after the march or after any other political gathering?” Matutu asked rhetorically, in comments that analysts said were “very strange” coming from an opposition party.

Tsvangirai said: “We are in a struggle. A struggle involves a number of actions we may have to undertake, and so it’s not a crime at all that the MDC decides to take certain actions as a way of applying pressure”.

He also sought to repel moves by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere to dissolve the elected council for the City of Harare, and replace it with a “commission”.

“In view of the minister’s threats to the council in Harare, the MDC is mounting an urgent application to the High Court for an interdict to stop the minister’s action and protect the elected council from his predatory actions,” Tsvangirai said.

The MDC leader also appealed to Mugabe to rein in his ministers and ensure that they always upheld the law of the land.

“The MDC is sick and tired of Zanu PF leaders who consistently brush the new Constitution aside as just a piece of paper and continue to act as if the country does not have a new Constitution.

“The basis of all progress and stability is founded on the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and adherence to the precepts of the new Constitution.

“No State can operate effectively without adherence to such principles to build confidence, and Zimbabwe is critically in need of this issue,” Tsvangirai said.

Comments (33)

Very correct Save, Zimbabweans are behind you.

tapedza madhubeko - 21 April 2016

When War Vets had their One Million man march, they blocked traffic for more than 2 hours. When that naked people carnival happens, they block traffic for hours, these double standards by the shameless Zanu PF hooligans masquerading as police officers knows no boundary. Those same people you are beating up and abusing are paying your salaries through tax. i challenge you to get your salaries from the villagers who vote for your party. They are refusing to pay even $3 per hectare per year. Cry the beloved country.

XG - 21 April 2016

we are behind you Mr President,musacheuke muridzo Biti is Zanu Pf,, and he remains a member of zanu kusvika afa

tiiiii nematanda - 21 April 2016

Spot on @XG , they want what suit them but this time people are going to free themselves , MT that is the correct way to power wake with the people because people are power.ICHO

Mudhara - 21 April 2016

Tsvangirai wafarisa i will beat you up next time i see you in the streets of harare that you will report to your bitch Elizabeth who is fucked threesome by Kenny and Kabila

Sabotage - 21 April 2016

i just cannot imagine this country ruled by MT,we would have sunk to the lowest depths,my daughter after graduating from UZ to be capped by MT,kwete,ngitsho,we cannot reduce esteemed institutions to be run by school dropouts,i now sympathise with GEN ZVINAVASHE who could not stomach the thought of saluting him

jojo - 21 April 2016

jojo you are lost, who says the President is always the Chancellor of universities. More so you risk the country's economy just because you want Mr so so to cap your daughter??? With Bobo ruling our fear is that our daughters will not acquire proper education,

me1 - 21 April 2016

@VIOLA,i am niether zanu nor mdc,i see no future in both,yu have won me over,since yu have liberation war credentials and seem to care abt the future of our country,y dont yu start a party,everyone will vote for yu,even@ samanyika and diibulanyika,yu are our only hope

jojo - 21 April 2016

One of the problems I have noticed over the past few years with what is happening in Zimbabwe is the total collapse and disregard for our moral campus as a people. We used to be a very respectful, and considerate society. But since the introduction of green bombers, murderous thugs and disregard for life and limb, people have become indifferent to unwritten rules of public discourse. An example of such misguided rhetoric is the posting by @sabotage. While we all have freedom to express our views and demand or hold leaders accountable, we also have a responsibility to be civil and constructive. Other than just spewing vitriol and curses, what does the posting by @sabotage contribute to the discussion specifically addressing the speech by MT? You have a right to your opinion about what you think of MT and or his wife but surely you do not have to bring all that stuff into public discourse and just degrade others like. We may engage in vigorous and contentious debates, we can disagree on issues but I think we should do so based on the merits and or demerits of facts. We lose each other by calling each other names, cursing and or degrading others. I just think we are far better than that as a people. We need to push for tolerance. We are fighting for our constitutional rights to freedom as much as we should remember our obligations to be responsible citizens. I rest my case.

tino - 21 April 2016

all those who don't want to see tsvangirai in power I am sorry you can go to mudede and get emergency passports and go the drc because the European countries no longer want monkeys in their countries. some people are foolish enough to still support Mugabe despite all the destruction that he has brought to the country. you need to put on your thinking caps because tave kuenda to an era of post-Ottoman logic kwete zvekunyengana makuvhu naanamnangarwa izvi!!!

josphat mugadzaweta - 21 April 2016

all those who don't want to see tsvangirai in power I am sorry you can go to mudede and get emergency passports and go the drc because the European countries no longer want monkeys in their countries. some people are foolish enough to still support Mugabe despite all the destruction that he has brought to the country. you need to put on your thinking caps because tave kuenda to an era of post-Ottoman logic kwete zvekunyengana makuvhu naanamnangarwa izvi!!!

josphat mugadzaweta - 21 April 2016

I wish I could say that I had faith in this Morgan Tsvangirai simply because we are all in desperate need of a genuine opposition figure, someone who has integrity, is reliable, has courage but above all someone who has genuine feelings for the masses. I do not see this in Tsvangirai - he has had many opportunities to slay Mugabe but instead has always ended up helping him and never challenging him on strategically important issues. What more do we have to see and witness to realize that he just does not have the credentials to rule this country? In my opinion he is a sellout and in the pay of CIO.

Mbewa - 21 April 2016

@mbewa,i cannot agree with yu more,the country is in the doldrums,only the seasoned RG can lead us out of this quagmire,people must understand that all countries go thru challenges,in the middle of those challenges,opportunists like tsvangison pop up trying to hoodwink the masses,we defeated colonialism and these british inspired hardships will be overcome

truth - 21 April 2016

@tino,just shut up@sabotage is entitled to his views,why have you not taken offence when insults are thrown at our iconic president by many on this forum,the president is always abused yet because its yo british puppet yu start to make noise,politics is not for the fainthearted,myself and @ viola are called all sort of names but yu have never protested,if yu worry abt morals then tell your master tsvangison to keep his zip in check

truth - 21 April 2016

hjbfgfghhjn

tb - 21 April 2016

mugabe must go......................''''''''taneta.....

TAFADZWA MATSA - 21 April 2016

MDC is no threat to national stability true. Tsvangerai is, lock him up!

john - 22 April 2016

Ukaona wapusa zvekusvika pakusaziva kuti even the headman can rule this country u may go to hail, uyo arikutaura zvamai Tsvangirai ngaatange apedza zvaGrace plz. I cant even blame nhunzi bedzi inofushirwa necoffine mugomba nekutevera chinhu chakaoora( changamuka hama yangu hinga uchiri pwere wani)

fireman - 22 April 2016

Hang on the Movement for a Democratic Change, but honestly we(Zimbabweans) need hard work to overcome this little trouble.Hang on Zimbabwe soon and very soon we will be home ( A New Zimbabwe, A New Beginning )

Student E64 - 22 April 2016

I think we need to double our efforts as this generation Zimbabweans. Remember when these comrades went to the liberation struggle, the only thing they brag about, going round and round telling poor people lies and manipulating people based on war credentials and stories: they were the able bodied of their time. They took it to the jungle, fought for political freedom(though we no longer have it), equal rights( to some extent), our land and other things on their lists, for sure they did get it. All thanks to their understanding. This generation needs to unite, sacrifice, use what we have(tonnes, if i may say, of intelligent people) to start our own fight for freedom, it does not necessarily have to be destructive war but rather constructive. It is this generation ( born free , as they call us) who can liberate this lovely, resourceful country from our 21st century oppressors ( unfortunately they are our fathers)

Student E64 - 22 April 2016

pamberi nababa morgen save tsvangirai . u cant be stopped by these zanupf militias calling them police , neither can u be silenced. handei mkoma richy tsvangison mfana wapa mid .

monice - 22 April 2016

@truth, I am sorry you got offended. I don't know where or what you read on my post that suggests that I support Morgan Tsvangirai. You are entitled to your thoughts, your opinion, but you are not entitled to misrepresent my words. I just was making an observation that @sabotage's post did not address the issues related to this story. And you are very correct in saying @sabotage is entitled to his views, (a point I clearly make in my posting). What I objected to was the personal and in view uncalled for curses. I dont really care for RGM but we should criticize him and his cronies based on the content of their character and policy prescriptions than their personalities. I hope this clarifies my posting enough for you @truth.

tino - 22 April 2016

@JOJO. Dont be too angry wth yoself.yu have to belong to some belief.its a right.it transfers to voting.dnt resign yo country to hopelesnes.bt above all know that the country belongs to God.We shall all depart,the voted n the voters.So to belong to an idea maybe good not only for yu bt yo kids.its yo pride.besides all this hatred is not worth us Zimbabweans.we are all kinsmen n women.our heritage is zimbabwe whether zanu,mdc,pf,zapu,ndu,uanc whatever.

viola gwena - 22 April 2016

Thank yu viola.

chaka - 22 April 2016

it was very shameful to hear a commission saying such words as if she is now a judge in the high court. kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

vhakelah580 - 25 April 2016

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