SW Radio Africa (London)

23 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai's State of the Nation Address Deferred, Again

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has deferred to Friday his state of the nation address which was initially scheduled for Tuesday.

On Tuesday guests. who included diplomats, journalists, the business community, and the labour movement, were kept waiting before they were informed that Tsvangirai had postponed the event to Thursday.

Tsvangirai's spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka sent out a statement which said the postponement was a show of respect to President Robert Mugabe, whose sister Bridget was being buried Tuesday. Tsvangirai did not attend the burial.

Harare-based correspondent Simon Muchemwa criticised the way the MDC-T leader's office has handled the postponements, saying guests were not being notified on time.

"On Tuesday, the announcement was made late, and many people, including some diplomats, had already arrived at the venue," Muchemwa said.

"Today (Thursday) I had to phone the MDC-T office to find out what was happening and that is when I was told the address will now happen Friday evening."

The Tuesday postponement was emailed to those on the party's mailing list, posted on the party's website and also on Tsvangirai's Facebook page, but the latest move to Friday was not.

Luke Tamborinyoka however denied that his team was not informing people in time about the delays.

"It is a lie that we have not informed people on time. We have actually written to journalists, diplomats, students and all the institutions that we had invited.

"Anyone who did not receive the message about the postponement was not invited in the first place," Tamboriyoka added.

Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said Tsvangirai should perhaps be addressing the state of his own office and party first, before attempting to offer national solutions.

"Such confusion shows that the MDC-T is failing to manage its public political programmes and this is what people have been saying for some time.

"Perhaps the MDC-T leader should be telling Zimbabweans what the state of the party is since the July 31st poll outcome," Ruhanya told this station on Thursday's Big Picture programme.

Josh Mhambi, an official within the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, said Tsvangirai was displaying a lack of decisiveness.

"For a respected leader of the main opposition party to keep postponing an event to which diplomats have been invited serious dents his credibility and by the time he delivers his address, people would have lost interest. It is such situations that make people say that he flips flops," Mhambi said.

The MDC-T says Friday's event, if it takes place, is "meant to unpack the problems facing the country and proffer solutions on the way forward in light of the magnitude of the economic problems facing the people of Zimbabwe."

Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai will deliver the address at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in Harare, at 5pm.

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