Tsvangirai back with a big bang

HARARE - Hordes of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s supporters thronged the MDC headquarters in central Harare yesterday, bringing business to a standstill along Nelson Mandela Avenue and disrupting traffic flow in the area as they welcomed him back to work following his illness-induced absence of the past few weeks.

And such was the commotion and excitement that Tsvangirai’s return to work induced among a section of the Zimbabwean populace, that wary authorities swiftly deployed anti-riot police and water cannon carriers around Harvest House, the MDC’s citadel of power, presumably in anticipation of disturbances.

The merry and placard-waving party supporters danced and ululated with obvious delight as they awaited the arrival of their leader who has been receiving medical attention in South Africa, at the recommendation of his team of local doctors.

The fit-looking Tsvangirai soon arrived at the offices clad in a floral shirt, sports jacket and blue beret, sending his supporters into even wilder, but peaceful celebrations.

Tsvangirai is mobbed by a crowd of supporters upon his arrival at MDC headquarters in Harare CBD. Pictures: Freedom Mashava

After he disembarked from his car, the former prime minister in the government of national unity was mobbed by the supporters, promptly declaring that he was “fighting fit and raring to lead from the front” the MDC’s quest to dislodge President Robert Mugabe and his warring Zanu PF from power.

“I am happy to be back and to reunite with you. I am okay and we must continue with this fight. Be well,” Tsvangirai said in his brief address to the supporters, to thunderous applause — which was punctuated by the MDC’s popular party chant, “Chikara cheZanu ndiwe Morgan” (Morgan, the man who puts the fear of God in Zanu PF).

Thereafter, Tsvangirai disappeared into the party offices to chair consecutive meetings of the party’s national executive and national council, which were looking into the country’s worsening political and economic crises.

But this did not drive the supporters away. Party youths continued toyi-toying up and down Nelson Mandela Avenue while hoisting placards, some of which were inscribed “Mugabe Must Go Now”.

Later, the anti-riot police brought the excitement to an end, stopping the youths from engaging further in their high-stomping toyi-toy dances and driving them away from the MDC headquarters by threatening to beat them up.

Tsvangirai addresses the crowd.

Speaking to the Daily News as he led the angry marching supporters away, MDC youth assembly national secretary general, Lovemore Chinoputsa, warned the police against intimidating peace-loving Zimbabweans.

“We have been emboldened by the timely return of our president. We have been energised and we will unfurl more peaceful demonstrations to emancipate the masses from Mugabe and Zanu PF’s bondage.

“We are not calling for Mugabe only to go. We want a complete overhaul of the whole system so that we start on a fresh page and we are determined to achieve that no matter what it takes. We fear no more,” Chinoputsa said.

This is the first time that Tsvangirai has appeared in public or visited his party’s headquarters since he disclosed that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer.

Another MDC supporter said Tsvangirai’s return to work had come as “good news to the pro-democracy forces in the country”, especially as this had coincided with party youths ratcheting up their protests against Zanu PF’s policies and coordinating their work with those of pressure groups such as #Tajamuka/Sesjikile, whose call for a national stay-away last week was a resounding success.

In a brave and rare act of candour by an active Zimbabwean politician, Tsvangirai ended weeks of morbid and frenzied speculation by his political enemies about his health a few weeks ago, telling the nation that he had colon cancer.

Part of the crowd.

The former trade union leader also said that while he had since undergone a successful operation in South Africa, that procedure had only been “the first of several medical procedures” he would have to undergo in the coming weeks.

And in a thinly-disguised swipe at Mugabe at the time — who at 92 is getting increasingly frail — Tsvangirai said that it was his “firm belief that the health of national leaders, including politicians, should not be a subject of national speculation and uncertainty”.

He also urged his supporters not to be consumed by his health issues, and to remain focused on confronting Zimbabwe’s worsening rot which is widely blamed on Mugabe and Zanu PF.

“As a leader and a public figure, I have taken a decision to make public my condition. It is my firm belief that the health of national leaders, including politicians, should not be a subject of national speculation and uncertainty.

“I want to thank my wife Elizabeth for her love and caring, my family, MDC members and the broader Zimbabwean society for their prayers and support on this journey. This health condition is unfortunate but can be faced by anyone. I intend to confront this development with determination to overcome it,” he said.

Riot police move in to control the crowd.

His operation in South Africa — decided on by his family after advice from his local doctors — came at a time that there had been signs that the MDC leader and his party are getting their mojo back, after recently mounting mega demonstrations against Zanu PF’s misrule.

Thousands of people — most of them MDC supporters clad in the party’s trademark red regalia — brought Harare, Bulawayo and recently Mutare to a temporary halt, as they marched in peaceful demonstrations against the ruling party.

Observers told the Daily News that the demonstrations had shown that contrary to Zanu PF propaganda that Tsvangirai and the MDC were now spent forces, the main opposition was very much alive and still the major threat to the ruling party’s thuggish hegemony.

Ahead of the marches, all eyes had been on Tsvangirai, with both friends and foes keen to see the impact of the demonstrations as the 2018 national elections beckon.

Since Zanu PF controversially won the 2013 elections, the economy has been on a precipitous downward slide, with thousands of companies closing shop and hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs in the process.

Debilitating cash shortages also continue to ravage the country, sending long-suffering citizens into panic mode that Zimbabwe has once again hit the depths of humanitarian and economic despair that were experienced in 2008.

Analysts say the cash crunch is one of the consequences of the country’s decades-old political crises that are widely blamed on Mugabe and Zanu PF.

Many political and economic observers have also warned that 2016 will in all likelihood be harder all-round than 2015, which was itself generally described as an annus horribilis (horrible year).

They said there was “little hope” that life would get better for most Zimbabweans, and that if anything, the country’s ailing economy would get sicker, while the deadly factional and succession wars ravaging the post-congress Zanu PF would worsen.

Comments (8)

morgan beware of that bullfrog called jobho that has been planted in the party. he must be one of the nefarious brood of the devil that delivered the poisoned chalice! be carefull-uoo!!!

SaManyika Chaiye - 15 July 2016

@dailynews,thats no bang,morgan is the best present to any ruling party,he is clueless and we celebrate his come back as it can only help us nuetralise the pastor,morgan has failed to work with any progressive forces and thus we expect his ego to scuttle any hopes of a united front against us,we therefore pop our champagne bottles at the return of the biggest loser

truth - 15 July 2016

Truth uri mboko, duzvi rairo...all your comments are very negative. Morgan is the only viable alternative to good governance...not your current idiotic leaders who fail to pay salaries of their secretaries and yet they fly every week to Singapore..vashandi vachifa ngenzara. MAMBERI NEMDC NAMORGAN T.

garikayi - 15 July 2016

People of Zimbabwe we need to mature and stop being too much political biased and fight to restore our beloved country. For a long time we have bruised , hurt each and kill each other as a result of political leaders who are using us for their selfish gains and yet these same political leader fellowship together and enjoy the riches together when they are not in Public. When in public they appear to be enemies. For how long shall we continue to be blinded by these political party leaders and yet we are the ones that are suffering and yet they are flourishing in wealth. What Zimbabwe needs now is not a political party but what Zimbabwe need is a Leader who can deliver the nation of Zimbabwe out of the crises that exist now. Let us see beyond political parties and this is time for us to open our eyes and unite for the common goal of the restoration of our Nation. Political leader and their parties have failed to bring us out of our painful situation and they have used us as chess pawns to get their selfish ambitions. Together Comrades lets fight for the restoration of Zimbabwe and choose a leader who can deliver us to the real Zimbabwe that we know not this part nonsense that we are sticking to.

Comrade Gandanga - 15 July 2016

MDC Strategy ..."the masses protest,get beaten and die in their numbers then we call for peacekeepers..and we get into power through the blood of the poor masses who know nothing.." pure brutality..until that happens its all a show --yu must die first my bro or sis for morgan to rule..kutofa chaiko...ruthless.if possible leave this fucked up nation then return after the poor have been butchered aka taken out of their misery

zambrota - 15 July 2016

Nothing wrong with political parties.The problem with people don't make political leaders accountable to the broad masses but tend to be accountable them.Bob was alright at birth but people created him to be what he is at present.I recall vividly in the early and mid eighties when people in Harare were calling for a one party state and advocating for a death penalty for Joshua Nkomo by hanging for the sole sin that he constructively opposed Zanu pf and Robert Mugabe for trying to impose one party rule.It is evident once more, that people never learnt for their tragic and folly mistakes of promoting some kind of heroe worshiping around Tsvangirai which is going to produce another monster.History has an ugle tendency of repeating itself with similar disastrous consequences,but people of Zimbabwe should avoid such fatal political mistakes, if we are to develop this country into a world class economic super power house of Africa.

Gen. Spinola - 15 July 2016

Reasonable comments by all those above. Problem is the immaturity of us as a people, in the participation of mature political debate.

Dunlop Munjanja - 15 July 2016

If a donkey kicks you and you kick back then you are both donkeys

Samanyanga - 16 July 2016

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