By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, March 10, 2016 – OUTSPOKEN former Zanu PF chairperson for Mashonaland West Temba Mliswa says President Robert Mugabe should swallow his pride and hand over power to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai whom he says was the rightful winner of the controversial 2008 presidential race.
Mliswa was speaking during a mini rally that was convened on Wednesday to mark exactly one year since journalist-cum-activist Itai Dzamara was abducted.
The former Zanu PF legislator for Hurungwe West said claims by some of President Mugabe’s once closest lieutenants that the Zimbabwean leader lost to Tsvangirai in 2008 should be enough to make Mugabe surrender power.
Ousted vice president Joice Mujuru and former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa have said in separate interviews with the media Mugabe rigged elections.
Mutasa, on his part went on to say the veteran leader lost the 2008 poll which ignited a violence orgy which claimed more than 300 opposition supporters, according to the MDC-T.
“We hear that in 2008 Zanu PF did not win. There is no leader of the party who leads without being in government.
“If the party leader was rigged, do you expect the leader to hand over power before he gets into government?” Mliswa said, adding that Zimbabweans should have defended their vote in 2008.
He said they should not have voted in the first place if they were not prepared to go in the line of fire to defend what they stood for.
“Mugabe has no confidence in his party leadership,” Mliswa said to hundreds of people who attended the event at Africa Unity Square.
“He fired Mujuru and now he is after (Vice President Emmerson) Mnangagwa. Right, Zanu PF is your party but why not pass the baton to Morgan Tsvangirai?” he said.
Mliswa said it had become clear Mugabe had lost confidence in his Zanu PF lieutenants.
“Since he has lost confidence in his lieutenants, Zimbabweans have confidence in Tsvangirai; if you (Mugabe) don’t have confidence with your fellow party members, pass the baton, stick to Morgan Tsvangirai for his 2008 elections election victory.
“It’s very clear to me democratically Tsvangirai must be given the presidency,” said Mliswa.
The former Mugabe ally-turned-fierce critic heaped praise on Tsvangirai for attending the commemorations saying this was a sign of true leadership.
This was after the meeting was snubbed by other leaders from among the country’s many opposition parties for undisclosed reasons.
“What surprises me as a Zimbabwean is that in times when we are supposed to meet as leaders, especially on human rights, we don’t see leaders who lead political parties,” Mliswa said.
“Today I am seen for the second time with Tsvangirai, I was first seen with him in Wedza… there I agree with the issues that he stands for,” he said.
Mliswa said Zimbabweans needed more people like Tsvangirai who are brave to confront the Mugabe system.
“Some people will say I Mliswa support Tsvangirai. I support someone who stands with the people.
“Zimbabwe is not short of intelligent people who can issue press statements,” he said in comments aimed at political parties that have resorted to issuing press statements denouncing President Mugabe’s controversial rule.
“Zimbabwe is not short of people with the DNA like Tsvangirai who are able to stand regardless of what they are facing to defend human rights,” he said.