OPPOSITION MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday warned President Robert Mugabe that he risked being removed from power through massive protests if he did not retire soon.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Tsvangirai said Mugabe’s Zanu PF-led administration had ruined “the jewel of Africa” so much that few options now remained for Zimbabweans to restore their livelihoods.
He said Zimbabweans stood ready to confront Mugabe head-on, even if he resorted to brute State machinery to crush dissent.
“This is a regime that survives on violence against innocent people. We want to make sure that this regime faces its end. There are two options to the endgame. The first option is a violent endgame. The second option is a peaceful transition,” Tsvangirai told thousands of MDC T supporters during the party’s 17th anniversary celebrations at White City Stadium in Bulawayo yesterday.
The celebrations were also attended by officials from other opposition parties such as Joice Mujuru’s ZimPF, Welshman Ncube’s MDC and Temba Mliswa’s Yard and several civic groups.
“Mugabe must choose between these two options; a violent option where we get to a point where someone is shot with live ammunition because he or she was simply demonstrating, or when we reach a stage where Mugabe chooses to install his wife Grace as president then it becomes gloves off and we confront the regime,” Tsvangirai said.
“But there is an alternative option. Mugabe must retire. The whole world is now saying Mugabe must retire, and after he retires there comes a peaceful transition.”
Mugabe has repeatedly shot down calls for him to step down, while Zanu PF has even endorsed the 92-year-old leader as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 elections. The First Lady has gone further to make bizarre declarations that Mugabe will continue to rule even from the grave.
Tsvangirai, who spoke passionately about electoral reforms, claimed the MDC-T was aware Zanu PF had started rigging the 2018 election by sending state security agents to Israel to polish rigging strategies.
“The issues of reforms are not negotiable. We have to continue fighting to get the electoral reforms. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must remove all obstacles to free and fair elections. Now as we go towards the 2018 elections, we know the elections have already been rigged. We know Zanu PF has sent 150 agents to Israel on election rigging tactics,” he said.
Addressing the same gathering, Mliswa urged Zimbabweans and other political parties to rally behind Tsvangirai as the sole opposition presidential candidate against Mugabe in the 2018 polls.
“The secret that I have for Zimbabweans is that we have to rally behind Tsvangirai in our own different ways. I am not saying [that] because I am looking for something; I also want to be president but before we do that, why can’t you support one person? Let’s put Morgan Tsvangirai first then we fight for other positions,” Mliswa said.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai said the MDC T was instituting its own investigations into allegations of corruption among its councillors in Bulawayo which resulted in Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere suspending five of them, including deputy mayor Gift Banda.
“Kasukuwere cannot stand with all the audacity to find out corruption in the most effective administration. I want to assure you that we will investigate openly without any fear or favour to establish the truth about this so called corruption,” he said.
“We are not going to tolerate corruption in our city councils. We will not hesitate to fire anyone who is found to be on the side of corruption.”