Tsvangirai calls for calm, belief

HARARE - With the country’s political and economic rot escalating at an alarming rate as Zimbabwe hurtles towards the crunch 2018 national polls, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says despairing citizens should remain calm but vigilant — “comforted by the knowledge that victory is certain”.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, the buoyant and fit-again Tsvangirai also reassured edgy Zimbabweans that it was a matter of time before the planned opposition grand alliance — to take on the warring ruling Zanu PF in next year’s elections — was knit together.

“When we began this journey (struggle for a better Zimbabwe) almost two decades ago, we always knew that it would be difficult and challenging, requiring much hard work and sacrifice.

“The good news is that it’s not much longer to go now and long-suffering Zimbabweans will soon get the change that they have long wanted. Indeed, victory has never been more certain than it is today.

“I call on all Zimbabweans to remain calm, but vigilant as our collective political and economic pain grows because of Zanu PF’s thuggery and misrule. Our struggle is not in vain and it’s definitely not long to go now,” the confident Tsvangirai said.

The former prime minister in the stability-inducing government of national unity — and the only man to beat President Robert Mugabe in an election hands down, in 2008 — spoke after he savaged the government on Thursday for arresting activist preacher Evan Mawarire, warning that this was the beginning of a crackdown by panicking authorities on fed up citizens ahead of the crunch 2018 national polls.

“The callous arrest in broad daylight of ... Mawarire came as no surprise to those of us who have always known that a leopard remains faithful to its spots.

“This is vintage Zanu PF, and the message coming out of this arrest is that Zanu PF will go for broke in the campaign ahead of the next election. The world must brace for impunity and violence against the innocent citizens of our country.

“I condemn in the strongest of terms the impunity against an innocent citizen of Zimbabwe who has committed no crime. If the regime thinks this arrest will cow the people of this country, then we have news for them,” Tsvangirai said then.

“Zimbabweans will not be intimidated and they will fight for a truly free and fair election in which their voice will count.

“What happened at the Harare International Airport must send a chilling message, particularly to those in the region and in the broader international community who thought Zanu PF was capable of reform.

“There cannot be reform without reformers and this impunity is a reflection of the true character of Zanu PF. However, we have always been a heroic people and we shall not be cowed,” he added.

Tsvangirai also said yesterday that former Vice president Joice Mujuru, who now leads the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), had already proved to be a significant opposition player — and that the two would work together with others to dethrone Mugabe and Zanu PF from power next year.

“We know what Mujuru brings to the table and she knows what we offer, so those who say that a coalition is coming are not far off the mark,” he said.

Tsvangirai also said other opposition figures who were arguing that coalition negotiations should be based on a supposed equality of parties needed to be realistic.

“This is a very unrealistic expectation as we are not equal. You can’t punch above your weight. We can be equal in the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) when we are campaigning for conducive electoral conditions, but we can’t be equal when negotiating a coalition.

“The realistic position is that we all have to understand that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. It is therefore important that people bring their strengths, not their weaknesses into the coalition,” he said.

The former trade union leader also reiterated his “full commitment” to the setting up of an opposition alliance after one of his deputies, Thokozani Khupe, had suggested that the MDC did not need a partner in Matabeleland.

He said it was “okay” that Khupe was expressing her views, adding that in a democratic movement “everybody is entitled to their opinions”.

“However, my party has given me a mandate to deal with the issue of a coalition and I am going to pursue it to its logical conclusion.

“Indeed, I as president am in charge of party policy and am mandated to deal with that, and what the vice president was saying reflects her opinion.

“We have already been talking to many parties and their leaders, and the fundamental issue is that the alliance must be based on respect for each other, as well as an acceptance of the reality.

“I know what the national mood is (like)and an alliance will take place for the next election. It will be a dereliction of duty if I were to fail on this having been given this mandate. We cannot fail to have an alliance,” Tsvangirai emphasised.

He urged Zimbabweans not to despair because of the tough political and economic conditions prevailing in the country, saying despite past experiences where Mugabe had refused to cede power after losing elections, there was renewed hope that a peaceful transfer of power would happen next year.

He said two of the key issues that would ensure victory next year were the question of motivating young people to participate in electoral processes and a level electoral playing field.

“People must not be dispirited to the extent of losing hope. I am an optimist and in spite of everything, we are now talking about a post-Mugabe democratic transition and hopefully we can all invest in making sure that this happens and that it is peaceful” Tsvangirai said.

He said the MDC was working hard to ensure that all Zimbabweans would feel that their future was secure and not threatened when change happens — as not doing so would provoke negative reactions, particularly from those who wanted to protect the status quo, as had happened in 2008.

“When people feel threatened they start to look at issues like what will happen to us if the opposition wins yet that should never be the case.

“We need to build confidence that the future we are building will benefit even the sceptics,” Tsvangirai said.

Comments (10)

"Comforted by the knowledge that victory is certain". I thought we heard that at the last elections! It was supposed to be a landslide

david taylor - 5 February 2017

Well said @ david taylor. What are they doing to 1. De-activate the rigging machinery 2. Get people of all ages to register as voters 3. Ensure effective implementation of electoral reforms and adoption of SADC election guidelines 4. Counter Zanu pf infiltration and propaganda 5. Penetrate and enlighten rural areas

Mukanya waSvosve - 5 February 2017

Former USA Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Chris Dell described Tsvangirai as "flawed figure, not readily open to advice, indecisive and with questionable judgement". History has proven the Ambassador right a thousand times and a thousand times again! The question is how many more time will Tsvangirai have to blunder before the penny finally drops in the collective psycho of Zimbabweans. Zanu PF will rig next year's elections; Tsvangirai's promise of change is all hot-air!

Nomusa Garikai - 6 February 2017

Daily News please take this story forward. We have heard this before. Right now we yet another election and Tsvangirai doing nothing but calling for calm. What is his strategy. Is the coalition ever gonna materialise. Zanu PF is already oiling its campaign machinery.

jems - 6 February 2017

MDC-T for it to win next elactions it must show seriesness by dealing with inefficient Mps and councillors especially in Bulawayo.Ths people represent the part but thy are doing nothing in thr constituencies.Surely how can you say victory is certain while Mps and councillors are failing to represent and do electorate wishes and aspirations

mlandu - 6 February 2017

Khupe is anti coalition because she will be insignificant if it materialises.As Bulawayo Province we are happy with coalition because it adds votes against Zanu pf.Secondly Khupe imposed Candidates against the wishes of constituencies which resulted Bhora Musango in Matebeland and mdc-t was trunced heavily because of her actions.let her blunders be solved by coalition.Victims thy dont forget. long live coalition!!!! Whelsman must join us ongafuniyo kayakele this is e Khupe slogan

ZULU - 6 February 2017

Mlandu you are of them you as a councillor what r u doing to make sure we retain those sits in 2018. My friend there is a lot to do than to complain. lets focus on the positive and stop criticising our own. zanu is stoping we wdont want another defeat zimbabweans will blame us for life

PRESIDENT - 6 February 2017

So you critics what are you doing which is better than what Save is doing to remove zanu bcoz obvious like every body you are drinking sewage water and eating shiit bcoz of zanu .

Diibulaanyika - 6 February 2017

Let's not just pick what we want our ears to hear and disregard all what President Morgan Tsvangirai is saying. Let's not all forget that to have a successful election campaign period and the time leading to the actual voting the environment must be PEACEFUL that's why the president is saying let's be calm. He did not say let's be cowards. Yes we need PEACE and to that end a lot of PEACE Keepers must be engaged from the civic communities. Zimbabweans let's not loose focus by being irrational. Every Uphill has got a SLOPE.

Maxmus Savanhu - 6 February 2017

thank you very much President Tsvangirai and MDC.i appreciate your focus and hope for Zimbabwe.its true,one day we will be like Gambia,rejoicing,crying the last tears of poverty remembrance. Zimbabweans should not be drowned by negative people who are there only to blame without cause.viva MDC-T viva.#freepastorMawarire!

tsviriyo - 6 February 2017

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.