THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans braved the heavy downpour which hit Harare yesterday to attend the MDC-T “shutdown” rally, which was addressed by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Supporters waited in the rains for nearly three hours for Tsvangirai to arrive from South Africa and headed straight for the rally at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield.
Battling with cancer, Tsvangirai appeared energetic in his first public appearance after a lengthy absence owing to his ill health.
Supporters, who included elderly women, sat on the wet ground and were drenched in the rains listening to Tsvangirai.
The MDC-T leader was forced to address his supporters in the heavy rains after attempts to send them home failed as they clamoured for him to address them.
“It is raining and I can’t be standing under shelter and addressing you, please go home and we will reschedule for another day,” said Tsvangirai, but supporters refused to leave the grounds.
Tsvangirai was forced to give his shortest address which lasted only four minutes where he said his party was more committed to having free and fair elections than forming a government of national unity (GNU).
“There are those who want a GNU, we are saying no to that. we are fighting for free and fair elections and not positions; we need the right conditions for elections,” he said.
Tsvangirai thanked supporters for their courage in facing the “dictatorship” of President Robert Mugabe and called on them to brace for a tough 2017.
“The year 2016 has come to an end while we are suffering at very high proportions. nobody here will ever say things are okay at their home, all of us here know the person who has brought us problems in this country. it is Mugabe,” he said.
Tsvangirai said while the opposition had mounted serious demonstrations against the deteriorating situation in the country, Mugabe had shown that he was not keen to leave power.
“We have two lessons that we have learnt over the past year, one is that the dictator will never give up power, and that the dictator also knows that the conspiracy that he sells that he is fighting the British and Americans while Zimbabweans are suffering is a dummy,” he said.
Tsvangirai called on his supporters to brace for more action against Mugabe’s regime and not to tire as long as Zanu PF maintained its stranglehold on power using brutality.
Rains continued to pound while supporters urged their leader to continue speaking, but Tsvangirai, who was on the podium with his wife Elizabeth, asked his supporters to go home or risk ill health.
The rally was attended by the entire MDC-T top leadership who met Tsvangirai at the airport as he arrived in the country.