MAKONI – Opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has said were it not for the MDC’s unwavering commitment to democratic change in the country, his party could have in the past taken up arms to liberate long-suffering Zimbabweans — a move that would have plunged the country into unprecedented violence and anarchy.
Addressing thousands of his supporters at Matsika Primary School in Makoni West yesterday, Tsvangirai also lauded former Presidential Affairs minister, Didymus Mutasa, for “having seen the light” and finally realising how “cruel” President Robert Mugabe allegedly was.
He said the MDC remained committed to peaceful change in Zimbabwe despite “the massive rigging at the polls” by Zanu PF, and the ruling party’s “proven” unwillingness to cede power to his party after suffering electoral defeats.
Tsvangirai said this was also the reason why his party was insisting on electoral reforms in the country ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.
“Nyaya inonetsa munyika ino ndeyekuti vanoti nekuti takarwa hondo, power haiendi kuMDC neball point (The problem we have in this country is that Zanu PF says because it participated in the liberation struggle, power can not be transferred to the MDC through the ballot box).
“Let me warn you, isu kubva musi wekutanga takataura kuti we don’t want violence. Tingadai takati nekuti matibira 2000 tavakubatawo pfuti. Chinotitadzisa chii? Asi aizo-suffer ndiani? Tisu vana veZimbabwe (We said from the beginning that we don’t want violence. We could have said because you stole the 2000 elections we are taking up arms. What could have stopped us? But who was going to suffer? It’s us Zimbabweans),” the MDC leader said.
He pointed out that there were few countries that had emerged prosperous from a civil war.
“Hakuna nyika inoita progress iinehondo. Zvinoreva kuti isu takagara takacomitter ourselves to democratic change nekuti tinoziva kuti kana pasina hondo tichaita change (There is no country in a war situation which develops. We always committed ourselves to democratic change because we know that we will achieve change without violence),” Tsvangirai said.
He said once democracy was achieved in Zimbabwe, the country would experience real liberation, with people returning to work and the international community’s confidence being regained and allowing for foreign direct investment.
“Kana democracy yauya nerusununguko vanhu vachaenda kumabasa, vekunze vachaita confidence vakaunza mari.(Once we have democracy we will have true liberation. People will go to work and the international community will have enough confidence to invest in the country),” Tsvangirai said.
He said he had become more resolute and clear about the need for change in the country after enduring many hardships in his protracted battle to dethrone Zanu PF and Mugabe from power.
“We have come a long way in our journey. But there are other people who are now battle-weary, while others are told by Zanu PF to ditch me. But I’m happy that people are always there for me. We have seen a lot,” the former premier in the government of national unity said.
He added that he would not give up “the fight” as his supporters had endured untold suffering for the party and nation’s cause.
He also said the government should consider introducing a universal pension for older persons, regardless of whether they were previously employed or not.
“You see these old people jiving and gyrating here, a government of the people must formulate policies that help those who are now incapable of looking after themselves and those who are wallowing in abject poverty,” he said.
Tsvangirai recounted his “recent persecution by Zanu PF in order to divert his attention from his tour of Manicaland” — a reference to the police disruptions of his meetings, as well as failed attempts by the deputy sheriff to attach his personal property over a pay dispute between his party and its former employees.
“We have seen a lot. I was coming from Honde Valley and I heard that my house had been emptied and I said I won’t go back home because what they are doing is childish,” he said to wild applause.
Speaking about Mutasa, Tsvangirai said he welcomed the fact that he had removed “his blinkers about how cruel Mugabe is”, adding that this vindicated what the MDC had been saying all along.
“Didymus today now knows Mugabe is evil. But someone who is repentant is better. I don’t talk about Biti and Mangoma, they are too small and not worth talking about, it’s a waste of time,” Tsvangirai said.
He said people must not be “mesmerised and seduced by little goodies” such as cups of rice which were being donated by Zanu PF, as hunger continues to decimate families throughout the country. – NewsDay