'Go now and we won't hound you'

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has assured President Robert Mugabe that if the increasingly frail nonagenarian retires from office now, long-suffering Zimbabweans would ensure that he will not suffer retribution or end up being hauled before the courts for the human rights violations he allegedly committed in his 36 years in power.

Tsvangirai’s assurances to an apparently “fearful” Mugabe come as Zimbabwe is deep in the throes of growing civil unrest as the country’s seemingly unending political and economic crises continue to worsen — with pro-democracy groups and opposition parties coalescing under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) set to hold yet another demonstration against the government in Harare today.

The MDC president and former prime minister in the government of national unity, the only man to have beaten Mugabe hands down in an election following his stunning victory in the hotly-disputed 2008 polls, said yesterday that the nonagenarian did not need to worry about what Zimbabweans would do to him if he retired.

“He (Mugabe) is a man who has done much for the country. He has built a legacy which he had also proceeded to destroy. However, we have a lot to do as a nation to restore the national pride and no one has any time to waste hounding an old man.

“We are proud Africans and in our culture, we value and respect old people. He has no reason to fear. He can safely announce his retirement and he has our assurance that no one will pursue him. Retiring now can only enhance his legacy,” Tsvangirai said.

Among a myriad other allegations, Mugabe’s government stands accused of having presided over many atrocious human rights violations, including the massacres of an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians by the army in the early 1980s mainly in Matabeleland and the Midlands, during an operation which came to be known as Gukurahundi.

In addition, Mugabe is now also battling serious tribal, factional and succession wars within his ruling Zanu PF, at a time that his administration is facing growing civil unrest as fed-up Zimbabweans protest the country’s dying economy and plummeting living standards.

Tsvangirai also advised Mugabe to use his 2016 annual State of the Nation Address (Sona) to announce his resignation from office.

“On Thursday (tomorrow), ... Mugabe delivers a state of the nation address to a people who are more informed about the real state of the nation than himself. Every Zimbabwean only wishes that the president could take advantage of the day to announce his retirement so that the nation could move forward.

“The country is mired in the middle of an unprecedented crisis. The president and the party in government have no idea how to address the people’s challenges, which are worsening every day as evidenced by the bond notes that were introduced early this week,” he said.

Speaking in South Africa last month, Tsvangirai observed that Mugabe’s stunning fallout with war veterans earlier this year was a potential game-changer in Zimbabwe’s tortured politics, and which could see the nonagenarian and his warring Zanu PF being turfed out of power in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.
“The split between Zanu PF and the biggest section of the war veterans, who were once described as the reserve army to protect Zanu PF interests, is a potential game changer.
“This is a clear sign that the war veterans are now clear about how Mugabe and Zanu PF have lost the founding principles, aims and objectives of the liberation struggle, hence his failure to take the country forward.

“What still remains is for other institutions such as the security sector and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to begin to respond in similar fashion, to begin to realise that the country is greater than the whims of individuals,” Tsvangirai told an enthralled international audience in Johannesburg.

War veterans served Mugabe with divorce papers in July this year, to end a long relationship with the nonagenarian which dated back to the days of the 1970s liberation struggle.

This was after war veterans had issued a damning communiqué in which they churlishly said that the nonagenarian was now a national liability and “a hard sell” for the 2018 presidential poll.

Subsequently, angry authorities launched a brutal crackdown against them, resulting in the arrest of a number of their leaders, while also moving to expel them from Zanu PF which is being devoured by its deadly and seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars.

Until then, the former freedom fighters had been Mugabe and Zanu PF’s strongest pillars of support over the past five decades, playing particularly significant roles to keep the nonagenarian in power in the hotly-disputed 2000 and 2008 elections which were both marred by serious violence and the murder of hundreds of MDC supporters.

Since their stunning fallout with Mugabe, many of the ex-combatants have also been working with pro-democracy and opposition groups to end their former patron’s rule, which they now openly say has been disastrous.

And amid ongoing loose talk about the need for another interim governing structure to stem Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic crises — in the mould of the 2009 to 2013 unity government which brought relative stability to the country — Tsvangirai also said a fortnight ago that he had no intentions of ever working with Mugabe again.

At the same time, the former prime minister in that inclusive government also told the Daily News in an exclusive interview that the country’s meddlesome security sector was likely to have a major say in who would succeed Mugabe within the nonagenarian’s warring Zanu PF.

“I currently have no real relationship with Mugabe. In fact, I last saw him on the eve of the last elections in 2013. I made a number of attempts to see him but was told that first I had to recognise him as the winner of that sham election.

“So, I have not met him and he has kept his distance, just as I have kept mine.

“If there are people who are talking about another GNU (government of national unity) of sorts I am not aware of that and given the bad experiences we had in the GNU it will honestly be a hard-sell,” he said.

Tsvangirai, who is on the road to full recovery after falling ill earlier this year and undergoing chemotherapy treatment in South Africa, said he had little doubt that the country’s military chiefs — who Zanu PF insiders say are supporting Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the ruling party’s brutal tribal, factional and succession wars — would have a major say on who succeeds Mugabe.

And as the country hurtles towards the crunch 2018 elections, the indefatigable former trade union leader also called upon Zimbabweans to not just brace up for even tougher times ahead, but also actively participate in demanding much-needed electoral reforms in the country if their lot was to improve.

“History has taught us that Zanu PF will not move unless it is cornered. While they did that with the Constitution, we now have a new Constitution. And they didn’t like a GNU but were also forced into it through pressure.

“So, we are saying Nera is a good platform to put pressure on Mugabe to change. If we don’t do this, holding any election with a semblance of credibility is going to be impossible,” Tsvangirai said.

Comments (7)

Mugabe must pay for his sins. A lesson to others

Dakarai - 30 November 2016

RGM should ensure to read a correct statement otherwise they will make him read an irrelevant statement or one that speaks of the resignation.

amina - 30 November 2016

Morgan stop talking like a foolish person. Its not for your to give assurances and dish out pardons. It is for the people of Zimbabwe who have been wronged by this man and his praise singers to decide what to do with him. Justice should be seen to be done and should be felt to have been had. People commit atrocities after atrocity in the knowledge that they will pardoned, no ways. He and all his props in G40, Lacoste and Gamatox will need to give an account one day for their deeds and then we move on from there.

Galore - 30 November 2016

Justice? lol justice look at that idiot Moyo, blatantly stole 500k and he goes of scott free.

Young Zimbo - 30 November 2016

Its not up to Tsvangirai what happens to Mugabe if he should retire. If there is a case to answer, then it is goog for national confidence in its judiciary that Mugabe should go to court ans clear his name. If there is no case to answer then he should go home and spend time with his wife. either way it is not up to Tsvangiai.

Mai Chibwe - 30 November 2016

taurai zvenyu mai Chibwe, lest Tsvangirayi repeat similar atrocities, expecting undue pardon, ahh

sijones - 1 December 2016

Why did Mugabe kill my brother Cain Nyevhe?

VeKwaMaromo - 7 December 2016

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.