MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Saturday boldly declared his party and supporters will not allow the government to implement a second Murambatsvina [operation clean-up] in urban areas.
Tsvangirai said people were ready to resist President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF government as they now fully accepted that “salvation lies in their own hands.”
He made the remarks to hundreds of MDC-T supporters in what he termed “State of the Nation address” at the Exhibition Park in Harare. Tsvangirai’s comments came soon after government’s Friday deadline for illegal vendors to leave the central business district went unheeded.
“Let me remove any doubt from your minds, any attempts by the regime to mount a second Murambatsvina will be strongly resisted and the MDC commits itself to the protection of all informal business persons, their inclusion in our economy and to making it possible for them to grow and prosper,” he said.
But Tsvangirai said his party remained committed to changing the government democratically, within the law and without using violence.
“We have stuck to those principles and we have neither beaten one policeman, nor broken a single window in the past 16 years while we ourselves have been beaten, abducted and killed,” he added, “I am not sure whether we can maintain that stance into the future.”
Tsvangirai said the present situation in the country was both untenable and unacceptable.
“Perhaps the time has come for us to take matters into our own hands and force the changes that are needed,” he said.
He warned that with the impending starvation in the country after a poor harvest, his party was not going to allow Zanu PF to continue distributing food aid in a partisan manner as millions were at the risk of food shortages.
“We as the MDC will also deal with these problems as best as we can and our supporters will be asserting their right to food just as all other deserving Zimbabweans and we urge the world and the development agencies to look out for this persistent Zanu PF behaviour to deny citizens their right to food along partisan and political lines,” Tsvangirai said.
The opposition leader also lamented Zanu PF’s failure to implement agreed reforms and to realign laws to the new constitution adopted two years ago.
He reiterated his party’s stance that it would not participate in any future elections without reforms