New Zimbabwe (London)

11 May 2014

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Vows to Push for Fresh Polls

EMBATTLED MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has vowed to push for fresh polls in Zimbabwe, insisting the current economic decline bedevilling the country will force President Robert Mugabe to give in to his demands.

The former Prime Minister was addressing more than a thousand party supporters in Norton Sunday, where he also condemned MDC-T pro-leadership renewal politicians for alleged betrayal. Tsvangirai said President Mugabe had personalised the country, a move which he vowed to end.

"We are facing a national crisis in which Mugabe has become a national liability who thinks he can rule the people for his entire life and we want to make sure this is diluted. We want to dismantle this hegemony in Zanu PF," he said to loud approval from his supporters.

"We have been spectators while the right of people to express themselves through the ballot was violated but we are saying it's time for change.

"We cannot wait for 2018 and have another military driven voting process. To correct that, we need to go for fresh elections which we are going to make sure that no one's vote is abused.

"The sooner we mobilise the masses and address this issue the sooner we get our success."

Turning to his internal party politics, Tsvangirai accused his estranged ally and firebrand party secretary-general, Tendai Biti of being power hungry.

He said Biti was failing to contextualise the struggle being waged by the 15-year-old opposition party.

"The party is not a party, this is a struggle. Don't see the MDC as a party, it is a struggle," he said.

"Some sprint without realising that it's a marathon. This is a struggle; until the struggle goal is achieved, we shall not tire, we shall not surrender.

"The MDC is the only agent of change in this country."

Sunday's rally in Harare's western satellite town was one of Tsvangirai's countrywide rallies, which observers view as a strategy by the veteran opposition politician to stave off a spirited attempt to oust him by party dissenters to his continued leadership.

It was also attended by MDC-T national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, women's assembly leader Theresa Makone, party deputy national chair Morgan Komichi and founding MDC-T legislator Job Sikhala, among party notables.

Addressing the same rally, Makone, who is also acting party treasurer, accused Biti and his pro-renewal partner Elton Mangoma - party deputy treasurer general - of accepting bribery by party rivals, Zanu PF during negotiations to form the 2009-2013 coalition.

"Those negotiators failed us hence Lindiwe Zulu was attacked by President Robert Mugabe because she was negotiating on behalf of MDC-T," she said.

"The people we had sent there had failed to represent us. They were quite because they were bribed by Zanu PF.

"Next time when you want people to act on behalf of the party, make a good decision. These men are not trustworthy, they are sell-outs."

Makone said the apparent revolt by the two is evidence they deliberately misrepresented the party, which has often been accused of failure to invent effective strategies against Zanu PF's domineering tendencies.

Sikhala, on his part, said he will fight until Tsvangirai gets state house, describing Biti and his camp as cowards.

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