'Tsvangirai will crush Mugabe'

HARARE - Newly-elected Norton legislator Temba Mliswa says a grand opposition coalition led by indomitable MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and including war veterans, will beat President Robert Mugabe and his warring Zanu PF hands down in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the gutsy Mliswa said among the lessons that long-suffering Zimbabweans and the country’s brutalised opposition could learn from his stunning victory last Saturday, was that they could once again defeat Mugabe and Zanu PF, just as Tsvangirai and the MDC had done in 2008 — as the ruling party was “nothing” without the backing of war veterans.

Indeed, and despite battering and bribing voters with residential stands, as well as printing and distributing fake MDC flyers to confuse the people of Norton, Zanu PF was given a royal hiding in last weekend’s keenly-followed by-election in the constituency which was resoundingly won by the former ruling party bigwig.

Mliswa blew out of the water Zanu PF’s little-known Ronald Chindedza to win the Norton by-election, which came about following the expulsion of former war veterans’ leader and Cabinet minister Christopher Mutsvangwa from the ruling party — which is being devoured by its seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars.

He polled 8 927 votes to Chindedza’s 6 192, to deliver a hammer blow to Zanu PF which was bidding to avoid defeat in Mugabe’s own backyard, as well as preventing disgruntled war veterans who campaigned for Mliswa from gaining a measure of revenge on Mugabe and his former liberation movement, following their recent hounding out of the party.

This was also despite the fact that the Norton by-election had been marked by violence, the controversial parcelling out of residential stands and mega rallies by vice presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, among other prominent Zanu PF politicians, as they drummed up support for Chindedza.

Analysts and opposition officials who spoke to the Daily News at the weekend also said Mliswa’s unexpected victory had raised optimism among both pro-democracy groups and the ranks of the opposition that the 2018 national elections could be up for the taking.

Speaking yesterday, Mliswa said the support that he had received from Tsvangirai and the MDC, war veterans, village heads and ordinary Zimbabweans, among many other people, was both “amazing and critical”, and a sign-post to what would happen in 2018 if “like-minded people come together”.

“To be honest and truthful, I wouldn’t have won this seat had it not been for Morgan Tsvangirai. He promised to support me to make sure that I win the election and true to his word, he came to the party. He dispatched his team and MDC vice president Nelson Chamisa was actually on the ground campaigning for me.

“Even when Zanu PF unleashed violence on us, Chamisa was caught in the crossfire and inhaled teargas just like all of us. It’s a fact of life that Tsvangirai has the people. It took him just to advise his structures to work with me and victory was delivered.

“The war veterans also played a crucial role in my victory. That is why it is important for Tsvangirai to lead the planned opposition grand coalition in 2018 which will involve everyone, including war veterans,” Mliswa said.

“If Tsvangirai decides to accommodate Mai Mujuru, then so be it, but that man is not only popular and genuine, he is also a natural leader and a father figure. The people of Zimbabwe like him and we can’t take that away from him.

“The problem with many of the country’s leadership is that they only think about themselves and not the people. I am grateful for the support I received from Tsvangirai and the MDC, as well as war veterans and the PDP (People’s Democratic Party),” he added.

Elaborating further on the possible role that Mujuru could take in the mooted coalition, Mliswa said “the problem with People First is that it has relegated the founders to the terraces”, after “she was invited to the party”.

“My concern is that Mujuru is trying to relegate people like (former State Security minister Didymus) Mutasa and (former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare) Gumbo when they are the founders of the party. Those people principally suffered for Mujuru.

“In Norton, we stood up against the brutal Zanu PF regime. The election was testing the coalition and electoral reforms and I don’t have to be a member of the MDC to support Tsvangirai. Zanu PF rigs elections but without war veterans they are nothing.

“People should also realise that both Mujuru and (vice president) Emmerson Mnangagwa were hand-picked by Mugabe while Tsvangirai has his own massive constituency. So let’s all back Tsvangirai for 2018,” he said.

Mliswa’s Norton victory has put the burning Zanu PF in more turmoil, amid divisive accusations and counter accusations of internal sabotage by warring factions angling to take-over the reigns from Mugabe.

Meanwhile, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News yesterday that Mliswa’s victory offered the opposition “a launch pad” for the proposed grand coalition.

“This is very good news that creates the possibility of having a grand coalition to confront the Zanu PF regime in 2018. United we are stronger and divided we are weaker. The people of Zimbabwe can rest assured that the coalition is coming. The Zanu PF regime will be history come the next elections,” he said.

Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said any attempts to derail the mooted grand coalition would not prevail.

“As ZPF, we know there are people desperate to scuttle the proposed coalition of opposition political parties and part of the strategy is straining relationships among the top leaders of the parties involved.

“However, we know that the will of the people, which is to see a united opposition in 2018, will be respected and is on firm ground. It can never be derailed by contrived statements cooked by enemies of the people and mischievously attributed to our leaders,” he said.

Speaking at the weekend, political analyst and former civic leader, Gladys Hlatywayo, urged the opposition to build on Mliswa’s victory which she said had been made necessary by a united approach.

“Lessons learnt here are that a united front of the opposition  coupled with lack of elite cohesion in the ruling party, can be lethal to Zanu PF. The opposition needs to be crafty going forward, especially on the reform agenda, to ensure that the election process is democratic and immune to the electoral shenanigans of yesteryear.

“The united front forged by the opposition was crucial. The war veterans ditched the ruling party and supported Mliswa. Having been part of the ruling party himself, Mliswa was able to withstand Zanu PF’s intimidation and violence and fought for the seat.

“The manner in which (Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour) Kasukuwere conceded defeat also signals a willingness to re-strategise on Zanu PF’s part and the opposition must equally up its game,” Hlatywayo said.

University of Zimbabwe politics professor, Eldred Masunungure, said while it was too early to read “too much” into Mliswa’s shock victory, Zanu PF could expect more shocks in the 2018 polls.

“One swallow does not make a summer and this is only one victory out of dozens other by-elections since 2013. In addition, Norton has traditionally been an MDC seat and the 2013 result was rather weird.

“Nonetheless it is a cardinal lesson for Zanu PF that patronage has its limits. You can dole out 9 000 stands but still get 6 000 votes. This is also so, considering the amount of effort that was put in by Zanu PF, with two vice presidents going there to try and persuade and force the electorate, or both.

“It is a lesson for 2018 that they can expect to see repeated. They are reaping what they are sowing through the partisan distribution of food aid and other electoral ills,” Masunungure said.

Zanu PF insiders also told the Daily News that Mliswa’s victory was a significant blow to the ruling party, adding that disaffected party bigwigs and war veterans, who had a stunning fall out with Mugabe earlier this year, had vigorously campaigned to ensure that Zanu PF did not win the seat.

The ex-combatants served Mugabe with divorce papers in July to end a long relationship which dated back to the days of the 1970s liberation struggle. This was after the war veterans’ executive issued a damning communiqué in which they said churlishly that the nonagenarian was now “a hard sell” for the 2018 national elections.

Comments (24)

There is no order of difficulty in miracles. Our destiny is calling; Non of us can choose our destiny and non of us can escape it.

victor - 25 October 2016

Ndizvokaizvi....Hourable mliswa next time haikonaikuzorarai ma shaniningazi achiisa maghost polling statations ikoko kuma new standands ikoko....... pamberi nekubudisa pachena all regging tactictics.....pass nevanoda kutonga neginyazi....vasingazivi kuti zvinhu zvinofamba sei ngadzdziswe ....vanoudza vanhu manyepo ....hatidi...pasi nehudofohwese...pasi nekukara mari.....pasi nevane vanodakuguta vega.....vasingadi kupavamwe mukana vekutonga ngavaudzwe kuti.....chokwadi kuti mauraya nyika...itai hand over power....musanyepa 95% yezvakataurwa ne zanu pf kumhuri yezimbabwe manyepo check it.

dofo - 25 October 2016

Come 2018 Themba Mliswa will not be with the opposition. Themba will be readmitted back into Zanu PF and will go running just as Jonathan Moyo did after the 2006 elections. Themba did not win this seat for the opposition, he won it for Lacoste. Watch my words!!!! Remember he said I TOLD ZANU I WILL BE BACK, now he is back!!!!

MR COOPER - 25 October 2016

Ofcoz ,he is old.Even Shakespear Maya will walk over him.

viola gwena - 25 October 2016

Totally agree, Mliswa is ZANU PF & its a matter of time be for he is admitted back. This guy was part is no opposition at all.

MJombo - 25 October 2016

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SAKALA - 26 October 2016

Whether Themba will go back to zanu or not the bottom line is what ever he said here is just spot on absolutely correct Morgan is the darling of the nation a true leader who has stood by the suffering masses this far and has strongly refused to be Mugabe zombie ,Even zanu knows Morgan and mdc are very popular hence they were giving mdc t flyers to voters which helped them get 6000 votes .If zanu had not used mdc flyers they were going to get less than a thousand votes shuwa nyani sibili .Actually Morgan does not need working together with other political parties which we all know are always heavily infested by spies and political prostitutes he is popular and can floor Mugabe without help from any one .This is not the first time Themba has said Morgan will defeat Mugabe he has said so many times before and it is true Mugabe is not liked by all sane people in the country while Morgan is liked by us all who are very normal .Thanks for telling the know truth.

Diibulaanyika - 26 October 2016

it is time for the nonagenerian to go now. With the coalition i think Mugabe can easily be defeated coz there wont be vote division and also the fact that many members of the ZiPF know how the regime party used to steal the votes of innocent Zimbabweans we are marked for a win.

trymore - 26 October 2016

M.D.C stands for Mugabe Destroyed the Country, come 2018 Bob you will be fired

safa ngendlala - 26 October 2016

Zanu PF you can fool some people sometime but you cant fool all people all the time. Sinobhururuka sinomhara ,MORGAN TSVANGIRAI inumber 1

safa ngendlala - 26 October 2016

We are watching. one thing i know for sure is that a leader comes from God. when God says no, then its no, even if they try rigging, it wont work. However, change of leadership is good. people who supports corruption must be voted out.

Sir Mordekai - 26 October 2016

Chisingaperi chinoshura Bob and team get ready for your worst nightmare come 2018

Bhonzo - 26 October 2016

You are so right Mliswa that it is a tactical blunder for Zimpf to relegate founding stalwarts to the backwaters .Look the bubble is already fizzling out.This Mawarire fellow...

April 7 - 26 October 2016

We don't care who will lead Zimbabwe as long its not Mugabe and his zanu pf a party of monumental failure .It can be a donkey , a dog or even an alien we need to get the country firing again , the economy should arise and built Zimbabwe again last but not least we will arrest the thieving ministers and make them accountable for each day that a youth has spent a day at home sitting without a job

jean-roy - 26 October 2016

a strong united coalition is the only way to topple zanupf from power in 2018

cde phil mhuriyengwe - 26 October 2016

I fail to understand the excitement about Mliswa winning this election - he is a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing. In any event how many more stolen election do we have to suffer before everyone realizes that ZANU PF are incapable of playing fairly. Not until such time as we witness major international pressure brought to bear upon this Mugabe regime forcing him to step down and an interim Government established leading to UN monitored free and fair elections, nothing will change and things will remain the same, this I guarantee you.

Mbewa - 26 October 2016

This is only one of the opposition leaders who sees the light about the future of the cou try.People need to note that this election has brutalised Zanu Pf and they are going to the drawing board.The opposition won here because of the nature of the constituency. It is more urban that rural and you cant cheat these people.The opposition needs to take note. Where did the over 6000 people who voted for Zanu PF coming from.Are they really happy with the things in Zimbabwe at the moment.Do they really think Mugabe can turn things in Zimbabwe at the moment having failed in thirty six years.Opposition leaders like Biti,Ncube need to take heed of what Mliswa has said.They want to go it alone when they are very aware that they cannot win anything. Lets hope they can also see the light

Zvigubu Ngondo ngondo - 26 October 2016

coalitions only work in situations where parties have almost same number of supporters so in order not to split votes they make kanzatu so as to remain one solid force but here in zim they are only 2 political parties with supporters as seen by political parties represented in parliament zanu and mdc the rest have no support to talk about ,So how do you do coalition with someone who have no support at all that is ridiculous stupid . and unreasonable .

Diibulaanyika - 26 October 2016

And how many more times do we have to listen to the false and ridiculous predictions of Morgan Tsvangirai to realize that he is just not a leader or anyone worth taking seriously or paying attention to. The man is about as artificial and plastic as you can get. Even though I have never voted ZANU PF I would rather have EM as leader rather than MT.

Mbewa - 26 October 2016

The good thing about Morgan he has no history of human killing that is why those who are zanu hate him so much but the majority of zimbabweans like him .

SIBONGILE - 26 October 2016

I am sorry to you all MDCs and folk. This is just a short-lived gimmick. Tyson said it all very loud and clear, "Going back to the drawing board" and that is exactly that. Your so-called coalition will be heavily infiltrated and confused, it will be in sixes and sevens, no head, nor tail. This is a poor strategy by daft strategists. Come 2018, you will be back to marara, mourning bitterly.

Handidzoki - 26 October 2016

Sir Mordekai please tell us why God gave Zimbabweans Mugabe. What was he thinking?

Mr Dete - 27 October 2016

The more things seem to change, the more they remain the same. there is absolutely nothing special about mliswa's win. as zimbos, we ought to know better, from past lessons. grand coalition or no grand coalition, zanu pf is going nowhere come 2018. we should wake up from this 2018 dream and fight for a better zimbabwe. unless we do that, we will continue to be deceived by these petty themba mlisa wins and we'll continue to wait for 2018, then 2023, etc. so let us stand up and fight for change in zimbabwe, and only through that will we make it!!!

thabs - 27 October 2016

of the 33 tactics that president have got to win election he only used 3. munovaitey hapana and hapana zvesure

dickies - 31 October 2016

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