Tsvangirai woos top army bosses

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has set the cat among the pigeons within the warring ruling Zanu PF, revealing that he has held meetings with the country’s feared military officials as part of his bid to allow the smooth transfer of power if he wins next year’s watershed national elections.

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

“I have met with the church, political leaders from across the entire spectrum, the army, war veterans, civil servants and leaders of various social networks and civic groups who all agree on the need for a positive trajectory for this country that we love.

“We are very much aware, of course, that the stakes are high and that the regime will invest scarce national resources into nothing else but power retention.

“We must be ready for them, armed with no other weapon except our sheer unity and a collective resolve for change.  All we need is a formidable unity that spans from the top to the very grassroots of our nation,” Tsvangirai said on Monday.

“The change we seek will be good for every Zimbabwean, even for those who have tenaciously fought and frowned upon any prospect for change over the years. I wish to re-state that we mean no harm to anyone and none of us should feel endangered by the change we seek,” he added.

Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi had not responded to questions sent to him by the time of going to print.

Analysts have consistently said Mugabe and his deeply divided ruling Zanu PF have in the past managed to thwart Tsvangirai because of the influence of the military and war veterans in Zimbabwe’s body politic.

They have also said the increasingly frail nonagenarian was saved from losing out to the former prime minister in the disputed 2008 polls through military intervention.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe hands down in the 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.

Analysts have repeatedly opined that Tsvangirai would find it difficult to govern even if he wins elections due to suspicion by Mugabe’s fearful securocrats.

They have often referred to the statement by the late commander of the defence forces — Vitalis Gava Zvinavashe — who in 2002 infamously said the military would not salute someone without liberation credentials, in apparent reference to Tsvangirai.

“Any change designed to reverse the gains of this revolution will not be supported …

“We wish to make it very clear to all Zimbabwean citizens that the security organisations will only stand in support of those political leaders that will pursue Zimbabwean values, traditions and beliefs for which thousands of lives were lost …

“Let it be known that the highest office in the land is a straightjacket whose occupant is expected to observe the objectives of the liberation struggle.

“We will therefore not accept, let alone support or salute, anyone with a different agenda that threatens the very existence of our sovereignty, our country and our people,” Zvinavashe said then.

A large cross-section of Zimbabweans — including civic society and political analysts — has welcomed Tsvangirai’s inclusion of former vice president Joice Mujuru in the talks to form the country’s planned opposition coalition.

Tsvangirai and Mujuru have been working with other opposition parties behind the scenes to finalise the mooted coalition.

Recently Tsvangirai signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Mujuru and his former secretary general Welshman Ncube in developments that were described as significant steps towards finalising the electoral alliance.

Mujuru, who now leads the National People’s Party (NPP) and whose liberation struggle nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood), and whose late husband Solomon was the first black post-independence army commander, is seen as providing the much-needed bridge that opposition parties have been missing to ensure the smooth transfer of power if they win the 2018 elections like they did in 2008.

In his statement, Tsvangirai says he is not seeking to build a coalition with political parties only but with all Zimbabweans regardless of their backgrounds so as to extricate the country from the current troubles.

“I say this because we cannot commit the same grievous mistake made by our colleagues when they came into office in 1980. They thought the attainment of independence was the destination when in fact 1980 actually marked the beginning of a critical phase of the struggle. They came in without a cogent plan but we have to be very clear about what we will do well ahead of the next election.

“We want to build a huge coalition for change that goes beyond party slogans; a coalition rooted in the people in their various social stations where they continue to slug it out under very difficult circumstances,” Tsvangirai said.

Analysts maintain that a united opposition, fighting with one purpose, can finally bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule, especially at a time that the nonagenarian is fighting to keep together his warring Zanu PF.

Comments (10)

But daily news you are pathetic, your bid to sell your paper let's you stoop so low to come up with such a misleading headline. Where and when in your article did Tsvangirai meet with the security chiefs? Your article doesn't even give us a hint on this so called meeting. This is all but hearsay that you are reporting on Daily news and l must say shame on you. This paper has been reduced to more of a pub talk rather than an investigative newspaper that it was back in 2003 with the likes of nyarota still on board. All your stories on the politics are the same just read the first paragraph the rest is all duplication from news as stale as 6 months. Please trying something better or scale down to a weekly bulletin kana musi sina nyaya..

Mike Huni - 1 June 2017

I welcome such news of trying to involve everyone in understanding the need for unity when the whole country is by led by people/leaders who show no respect for the rest of the citizens. The army, when they really show/declare that they are no longer going to be partisan to any political party, gives a very positive sense of success in the peaceful struggle which is being fought to overthrow Mugabe & ZANU-PF. In addation the police and the judiciary should be approached and be alerted on such need and movement towards unity. Negotions should also involve the chiefs despite bribes of vehicles they were given by the ruling party. They should stop spresding ZANU-PF propaganda from the rural folks. Everyone, by all means, must be set free in all respect so that a free political field is created without intimidation. The media - National TV, Radio. and Newspaper should be set free to all stakeholders for public use - not ristricted to the favours of the ruling party. Vote education should spread and resch to everyone in the country and hence maxmise voter registration which will call for many citizens to have their say. I do appreciate the effort and tirelessness put by respected MDC-T president Morgen Tsvangirai. Your genuine efforts in fight for peace are a very good measure to many of us as they will remain everafter respected. Keep it up SAVE.

Pythias Makonese - 1 June 2017

WARNING!! WARNING!! WARNING!! Watch out for the CIOs. Make no mistake they are spending sleepless nights working on plans to scuttle any moves to offer genuine freedom to Zimbabweans, including their own mothers!!

Jonso - 1 June 2017

Mike is right,,Daily news must publish the articles with full information coming from both sides.As far as we know army &all security sectors came clear that they support &defend zany,, if there is some sort of mind changing they must also publish the issue themselves just as they did in 2000.The daily news must meet&interview those people so that the public will have full information from both sides

Matsotsi - 1 June 2017

In total agreement with Save, " a coalition and consensus ROOTED in the PEOPLE" will prevail.. yes THE PEOPLE will prevail..

Will Blackman - 2 June 2017

Tsvangirai should stop being careless with his campaigning itinerary!!! as to naming his audience class. Rova ngoma wakanyarara.

Mukanya - 2 June 2017

Tsvangirai should be careful about what he says. The security bosses will try to prove him wrong. Even if ti would be true that he would have met some of the security bosses, it would be wiser to keep quiet about it.

Ben Maricho - 2 June 2017

We r 100% behind e coalition....feel e heat, u ZANU PF bootlicker......kuti mumame

anovenga ngavenge... - 2 June 2017

please doctor chiwenga nema soja ose ngatimbopai tsvangirai mukana ini 2018 kana akatadza after 5 years tozodzorera kuna gushungo vane experience. lets do that save vamboita minana please.

wezi p - 6 June 2017

This is a clear example of what we mean when we say there is no democracy in Zimbabwe. We do not need army approval to hold an election. The army has no business in the running of elections but the order is such that we have to pacify them. Sham on Mugabe purizi purizi.

Yeoman Thomas - 6 June 2017

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