'You will all be safe under me'

HARARE - A buoyant opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, says he will give President Robert Mugabe and fearful security chiefs immunity from prosecution when he forms the country’s next government.

Speaking in Harare yesterday, after holding a crucial meeting with the MDC national executive, the popular former prime minister in the government of national unity emphasised that Mugabe and securocrats had nothing to fear when he comes to power — adding that he regretted his failure to assure them their safety when he won the hotly-disputed 2008 polls.

This comes as Tsvangirai is on the cusp of wrapping up an electoral pact with smaller opposition parties, which analysts say could finally see both Mugabe and Zanu PF defeated in the eagerly-awaited 2018 national polls.

“I have a message to those who have in the past resisted change and who remain keen to subvert the people’s will because of their uncertainty due to the prospect of political change in the country.

“I wish to assure everyone that there is nothing to fear in the change that we seek. We have no intention to engage in retribution, and we are only driven by the genuine patriotic spirit to ensure peace, stability and growth.

“Change will be good for everyone. Change will allow everyone to pursue and live their dreams under the protection of the State,” Tsvangirai said.

“In 2008, a large part of our fellow citizens in State institutions were reticent and suspicious about the prospects of change.

“The people won the election but there was no transfer of power because of the sceptics of change, those whose reticence about a new Zimbabwe cost this country the opportunity to set a new political direction.

“There will be neither vengeance nor retribution against anyone. There is certainly nothing to fear. In fact, there will be a pension for those who are afraid,” the dogged former trade union leader added.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe hands down in the 29 March 2008 presidential election, which saw results being withheld for a suspiciously long six weeks, amid widespread allegations of ballot fiddling and manipulation.

When the widely discredited results of that poll were eventually announced, Tsvangirai was forced into a presidential run-off which he pulled out of following massive intimidation and violence which saw hundreds of his supporters being murdered in cold blood.

Mugabe would go on to stand in an embarrassing and widely condemned one-man race in which he declared himself the winner.

However, Sadc and the rest of the international community would not accept the poll, forcing the nonagenarian to share power with Tsvangirai for five years to prevent the country from imploding completely.

Former State Security minister and one of the founders of the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party, Didymus Mutasa — who was for decades a close confidante of Mugabe — later lifted the lid on that election’s rot, following his sacking from Zanu PF, revealing that the nonagenarian remained in power through chicanery and brute force.

Tsvangirai, who said he was looking to the future with optimism, paid tribute to disaffected war veterans yesterday, who have been feuding with Mugabe since mid last year.

“On behalf of the party I lead, the broad democratic movement and on my own behalf, I want to assure the war veterans, ex-detainees and restrictees that Zimbabweans sincerely welcome their joining the legitimate national demand for the institution of democracy, beyond mere liberation and political independence.

“We sincerely welcome their withdrawal of support from the notion of one-man-rule and one-centre-of power which were never the objective of the protracted liberation struggle.

“Together, let us confront those who have betrayed the ethos of that sacred war. Together, we can all complete the unfinished business of the liberation struggle.

“Indeed, our war veterans, with the support of the generality of our citizens, did not only fight for independence. They also fought for democracy and it was always going to be inadequate to assume the struggle was over merely upon the attainment of independence,” Tsvangirai said.

Until their fallout with Mugabe, the fed-up ex-combatants had served as his and Zanu PF’s main power base, waging particularly brutal campaigns against Tsvangirai and the MDC, especially in the bloody elections of 2000 and 2008.

Still, Tsvangirai promised the war veterans that he would look after their welfare and uphold the land reform programme which he declared as irreversible.

“Fellow Zimbabweans should heed our assurance that we have no intention of stripping anyone of their land, save only to address issues of inequality in distribution and productivity on the land that genuinely belongs to us as Zimbabweans.

“Some of us believe in giving beneficiaries the right to land so that this land, for which so many died, can be both an asset and a legacy that can be passed on to future generations.

“True, there will be rationalisation in the allocation of land without any reversal of the sacred principle that Zimbabweans must own their land.

“The Constitution is clear on the value we attach to the liberation struggle and the war veterans who brought us independence through a brutal and protracted war. Their welfare and their plight are matters that we value and hold in sanctity,” Tsvangirai said.

He said the MDC and other smaller parties who were coalescing under the banner of the National Electoral Reforms Agenda (Nera) were worried by Zanu PF’s attempts to steal the 2018 elections.

“Everything that is happening in our country today, including this despicable attempt to steal the next election, is a divergence from the core values and principles of the liberation struggle.

“Our brothers and sisters went to war, not only to liberate the country but also to democratise it. As a nation, we have always placed a premium on the right to vote, then referred to as one-man-one-vote, itself one of the reasons the heroic people of Zimbabwe went to war.

“Any attack or subversion of the right to a credible vote is an assault on the ethos of the liberation struggle.

“I want to assure Zimbabweans that we will do everything we can to protect their vote, even though we cannot do it alone. We appeal to all Zimbabweans to work together in the patriotic quest for this nation to hold free, fair and credible elections,” Tsvangirai said.

Controversy has erupted over the past few weeks, following the government’s sudden decision to sideline the UNDP from assisting in the procurement of BVR (biometric voter registration) kits, with unanswered questions being raised about how and where the stone-broke administration was able to secure funding for this, to the staggering tune of $17 million.

“No political party should be allowed to unilaterally superintend an electoral process as that can only imperil or endanger the people’s will.

“The government, as currently composed, is constituted of one political party. It is pertinent to note that when a government so-constituted hijacks an important process, it means simply that Zanu PF, an interested party, has unilaterally taken over the work of an independent commission (Zec) ahead of a watershed poll.

“This should be cause for national alarm given how Zanu PF has in the past used violence and dubious companies such as Nikuv International Projects to steal the people’s vote.

“As a party, together with our colleagues in the broader democratic movement, we take great umbrage at the brazen hostile take-over of the electoral process by a political party when such work is solely reposed in an independent commission,” Tsvangirai said.

Comments (8)

Tsvangirai, yes we want Change and you are an important part of the equation. But when you want to go into these security issues, do this in style. Try to talk to Chiwenga, Chihuri. Zimondi and Skelema in private. They don't like mega-phones, they are not politicians. Never, ever..because they are sworn supporters of the organisation which made them what they are. They get pissed off when you talk to them in the same way you adress white farmers on a fund-raising gothering. Ndatokuudza.

selele - 10 March 2017

This guy's political maturity has definitely increased!

david taylor - 10 March 2017

Loads of us have heard the call Morgan. And as someone has intoned, the securitat guys are the ones to win over at this stage. They will negate any rigging Bob and Nikuv might have up their sleeves, if they have any.

Dunlop Munjanja - 11 March 2017

we wont allow murderers to get scot free. they also know that you cannot be left free after murdering 2,000 mdc supporters since 2000. we owe them nothing and they should face the music. noone still needs zanu except themselves thus we are going to win the elections anyway.

josphat mugadzaweta - 11 March 2017

This issue of BVR must be taken serious. I can for see it being manipulated while if we only allow zanu to take over from UNDP. There is a certain country in the early 1960s where by those machines were made so that they automatically cast the opposition's vote to the ruling party eg if I vote for mdc, the machine will also record for the ruling party. Please let UNDP do this job if you mean free and fair. Even Western observers let them come.

Facts - 11 March 2017

Tsvangirai now sounds a reformed leader,whatz now left is to keep an open platform for democracy in the party, the MDC.Once he is sincere in his approach & allow democratic forces &processes to take what ever course they might,including options to retire him,when ever it turns neccessary,& not him trying all the manipulations to remain at the helm at all costs just like Mugabe;him not trying to exploite decades long work of his surbodinates of putting his name to the public by rushing in a corner to form a splinter group with bootlickers like Chamisa inorder to remain at the helm.That way will not stop splits of the party reducing its formidability

addmore gudo - 11 March 2017

ABOVE I meant Tsvangirai wil hve bn embarked in a way where all opposition will join hands & is kept as one entity,mantaining its formidability.All the mushrooming of political parties & splits can well b traced at Tsvangirai's door,with him standing in the way of democratic processes & good sense intending to replace him for some brighter person.All the work done in the previous years don't belong to Tsvangirai's sweat but to his surbodinates' who sold his name to the public trusting that they were in a democratic movt,doing it for the benefit of all,now that Tsvangirai is dishonestly trying to grab all the benefits to himself by not remaining open& faithful to democratic landscape processes & ethos of good sense in the party.This actually disabled him to keep the party or all opposition in one group over the yrs for the benefit of all.The party was formed by all people in it, not by Tsvangirai alone-so labelling all opposition effort or the MDC, the name Tsvangirai as a brand is errenuous.One open platform of opposition will not lead to mushroom of many splinter groups or political parties

addmore gudo - 11 March 2017

@addmore, if you think your hogwash will sway people's thinking you got to be a few bob short of a pound. Ged it? A few bob! The one person responsible for people's suffering is your master. When he goes, morons like you will be left high and dry.

Dunlop Munjanja - 12 March 2017

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