MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai says President Robert Mugabe’s 34-year octopus-like grip on power has impoverished the nation and that there was need for national convergence on the urgent need for change.
Addressing villagers in the political hotbed of Uzumba district in Mashonaland East Province at the weekend, Tsvangirai said Zanu PF thrives on violence and intimidation as well as rigging elections.
The MDC leader, who was in Uzumba for the first time since his party was formed 15 years ago, was handing over building material to people who lost their homes and livelihoods in political-related violence in 2008.
He said despite the fact that the nation was wallowing in Zanu PF-induced poverty, there was a silver lining on the dark cloud as Mugabe’s failure to address the socio-economic challenges affecting citizens will see him go before the 2018 elections.
Tsvangirai said Zanu PF’s capacity to rig elections had reached the ceiling and that his party would be in power as free and fair elections were in the offing sooner rather than later.
“Zanu PF has been rigging elections and using violence and intimidation tactics but they have now exhausted all the means there is, they have nowhere to run, they can’ fix the economy,” Tsvangirai said.
“If you take Zanu PF and MDC activists separately and ask them what they wish for, they have the same aspirations, they want progress, the youths want jobs which Mugabe cannot provide. We are all poor, both MDC and Zanu PF,” he told villagers at Katiyo Business Centre.
Tsvangirai urged the nation to unite against Mugabe whom he accused of “single-handedly destroying the country”.
“People must know that we shall soon cry the tears of joy because I don’t see us getting going until 2018. Something must happen now. Something must certainly happen and we are going for victory.
“They have exhausted all the tricks they had and now there is national convergence on what needs to be done so we will soon cry the tears of joy,” the MDC leader said.
Tsvangirai handed over cement, roofing sheets and door frames to 10 families whose homes were destroyed by Zanu PF youths.
The former PM who was in the company of party deputy national chairman Morgen Komichi had earlier toured villages of the 10 families where he came face to face with trail of destruction that the violence of the 2008 presidential runoff had left.
One of the victims, Florence Machinga, who was the MDC parliamentary candidate in the constituency, narrated how her house was razed down using petrol bombs.
Supporters from violence-prone neighbouring Maramba Pfungwe district told Tsvangirai that his visit had emboldened them despite the level of intimidation that still obtained.
“We feel secure now that you have visited us because we know Zanu PF will tremble. They don’t feel comfortable with the name Tsvangirai even just hearing that you drove through this place,” said Maramba Pfungwe district chairman Joseph Matambo.
Other victims who received 10 roofing sheets, five bags of cement and two door frames to build two-roomed houses included Jacob Gogodo whose wife Georgina was killed in the violence, Chamunorwa Kupi, Joel Chipitera, Nyumwai Maezva and Tazvitya Konodweta among others.
Prior to the June 2008 presidential runoff, Zanu PF militia unleashed a reign of terror against Tsvangirai’s supporters which left hundreds dead while others became homeless and thousands were left displaced.