WASHINGTON DC —
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says he is confident that he will win the presidential election set to be held sometime this year.
Addressing thousands of people Saturday in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North province, Mr. Tsvangirai said his party is ready for elections even if unity government principals still have to finalize election dates through the courts.
If elected, the prime minister said, “I Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC will not betray the aspirations and expectations of the people of Zimbabwe.”
He said his party will come up with various economic programmes benefiting the country if his party is elected into power.
“This province has the largest deposits of coal, almost billions of tonnes. There is so much hard wood and the largest deposits of gas which can be used for manufacturing fertilizer or for generating electricity. In this province, there is the Zambezi water which we should harness to turn this region into a greenbelt. Why does this country import food when we have so many natural resources?”
He said Zimbabwe is currently crippled by corruption and singled out Mines Minister Obert Mpofu of Matabeleland region for allegedly amassing massive wealth at the expense of poor people.
“He (Minister Obert Mpofu) has bought the whole of Victoria Falls. He has bought Bulawayo. We are told that one day he asked his aides about a certain building which he saw in the city. His aide told him that chef you bought it. It’s yours. He does not know how much he has. He has too much money. Ask yourself this question: Is he doing this alone? Somebody, somewhere up there (government) is benefiting quietly.
“I want to warn anyone who is coming on an MDC ticket that we do not tolerate corruption … Zero tolerance towards corruption because with corruption that is when there is uneven distribution of our national wealth.”
He further said there is need for peace and reconciliation in Zimbabwe. “This country has been too traumatized. We need reconciliation because without reconciliation and without stability the will be no development. Reconciliation does not mean we suppress information and the truth because the truth leads to justice. It’s when people feel free and accept that there is justice in the country that there are able to move on with their lives,” he said.
Rural Zimbabwean Woman
Mr. Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe should cater for the needs of senior citizens who were dumped by the previous government led by President Robert Mugabe.
“When I finally leave politics, I want to leave Zimbabweans and senior citizens satisfied that I did a lot for them. We should always care for senior citizens who an important social fabric,” he said.
In Bulawayo, 80 kilometres away from his rally, his party was conducting primary elections in disputed areas where there have been conflicts among party supporters over the selection of candidates.
Some party activists claim that some of the candidates are being imposed on the electorate. But the party’s Bulawayo provincial organizing secretary Albert Mhlanga said the situation is currently under control.
In Matobo constituency, Matabeleland South province, the MDC formation of Industry Minister Welshman Ncube was Saturday conducting primaries in the region. Youth secretary, Descent Collins Bajila, said he is among candidates who have been chosen by the people to represent his party in the forthcoming general elections.
In a related development, Zimbabwe’s military chiefs under the dreaded Joint Operations Command (JOC) are reportedly preparing to deploy senior army officials in all parts of the country to campaign for Zanu-PF in the run up to this year’s general elections.
According to the privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, JOC members – drawn from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, the police and Central Intelligence 0rganization – have been of late holding meetings in Harare to layout plans for ensuring a Zanu-PF win in the elections.
The paper says some of the JOC members to be deployed in the 10 provinces include Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, Brigadier-General David Sigauke, Brigadier-General Sibangumuzi Khumalo and Retired Major-General Victor Rungani.
President Roberty Mugabe consulting some members of the Joint Operations Command in Harare
Air Vice Marshall Henry Muchena is currently running the Zanu-PF political commissariat.
The JOC is suspected to have spearheaded President Mugabe’s 2008 presidential election re-run with then opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who withdrew claiming that his supporters were being butchered by Zanu-PF supporters and security forces.
Political analyst, Nkululeko Sibanda of Hudderfield University in London, said this Zanu-PF strategy of intimidating people before elections will not work.
“(President) Mugabe has always used the military strategy, the gun strategy, the fear strategy since the 1980 elections. I don’t see how anybody in Zanu-PF understands any other political methodology other than the Maoist military strategy that intimidates the population,” said Mr. Sibanda.
Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo and Minister Mpofu were not reachable for comment.