“Our Vice President Thokozani Khuphe, is this week set to undergo a very scary operation that has to do with her ailment,” party secretary general Tendai Biti told party supporters at an MDC rally in
Chitungwiza on Sunday.
A meditative Khuphe, 47, who spotted an outfit which bore party colours, was on Sunday excused from addressing the rally, which ended with party loyalists being asked to bow their heads in her prayer.
The Makokoba MP has turned to her Christian faith to keep her spirits up since being told she had cancer in May this year.
Meanwhile, the MDC on Sunday made a dramatic switch of tone and started advising party supporters to use every means to defend themselves against persistent attack by Zanu PF supporters.
Party national chairman Lovemore Moyo and secretary for women’s affairs Theresa Makone said attacks from Zanu-PF supporters had become too persistent unbearable and as such they must not fall victim as
they had a constitutional right to defend themselves.
“The constitution allows one to defend oneself and if one attacks you in your own backyard, you are allowed to arm yourself with an axe and spear and stab that person.
“We MDC people must not sit idle as we are being attacked by Zanu-PF supporters. We detest violence but circumstances are now sending us to defend ourselves because we can’t be beaten up everyday.”
The statements by the influential MDC leaders came on the heels of a similar statement by Zanu-PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo who last weekend also urged Zanu PF supporters to defend themselves
against attack by the enemy.
The MDC is adamant its supporters are the main victims of state sponsored violence which has seen marauding Zanu PF militants terrorising villagers in rural areas and the cities.
In his keynote address, party president and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the inclusive government had reached an untenable point of mistrust and was dysfunctional and the party was now in
favour of an election even in the current conditions.
Tsvangirai insisted the next poll must be free and fair saying the outcome of the vote and the voters must be protected.
“You cannot say you are running a free and fair election when there is no protection of the vote,” said the MDC-T leader.
“There vote must be secured. There must be protection of the people. You can’t run a free and fair election where the outcome of that vote is not respected. The will of the people must be respected.”
Tsvangirai also said his party will not accept the polling station voting system saying it will allow Zanu-PF to terrorise voters in areas where it would have lost.”
Tsvangirai was adamant polling station voting systems create “captive
audiences” at polling stations.
The MDC peace rally was finally held in the dormitory town after the first attempt two weeks ago was violently disrupted by Zanu PF supporters.
A modest crowd of just over 2000 people braved scorching heat to attend Sunday’s rally.
Dozens of baton police officers in anti riot gear stood some 100 metres from the venue while water cannon trucks also patrolled the vicinity of the venue in a clear show of force.