MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has over the past few weeks been “visiting” suburbs in Harare where Zanu PF is known to be perpetrating violence in what analysts say could be a bid to reinvent himself.
Since losing the election to President Robert Mugabe, all has not been well for MDC-T with the party facing the second split in 10 years after former secretary-general Tendai Biti and deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma left to form their own party.
In three of his visits, in Budiriro, Hopley Farm and Epworth, Tsvangirai has proved that he still has the support of the people despite losing to Zanu PF’s Mugabe in the last election that he claims were rigged.
On all these visits, Tsvangirai exposed the amount of fear caused by Zanu PF in suburbs.
The MDC-T leader also came face-to-face with the poverty the people are grappling with. In Epworth, he expressed shock at the huge number of young people that came to attend his rallies during working hours when they should be at work.
“The question that I ask is: What is this whole group of people doing here on a weekday when you are supposed to be at work?” Tsvangirai asked rhetorically.
His message remained the same, however, throughout most of his visits, that Mugabe’s time to rule Zimbabwe was over and that he must now go.
“Zanu PF has failed. We now need a new direction that comes with the MDC programme,” Tsvangirai said.
In Budiriro, Tsvangirai attracted huge followers who chanted his name as he toured the markets past a Zanu PF terror base where he was verbally abused by Zanu PF youths.
From there, he went to Hopley Farm, a disorderly settlement on the southern periphery of Harare.
There, he questioned medical staff at a local clinic over allegations that they discriminated against known MDC-T supporters.
His latest visit was in Epworth where he addressed party supporters whom he urged to remain strong and continue working for change, which he said was definitely coming and in a peaceful manner.
Tsvangirai’s tours have, however, sparked debate over their usefulness, given that he had lost a lot of political mileage since his defeat in polls by Mugabe in the 2013 elections.
Political analyst Takura Zhangazha said that like any politician, Tsvangirai was right to engage the poor people who were in the majority, but said it was not enough to engage in “meet the people tours” without a clear message and plan.