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MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has threatened a “violent endgame” to force President Mugabe from office unless the Head of State and Government voluntarily relinquishes power.
Addressing party members during the party’s 17th anniversary celebrations in Bulawayo yesterday, Mr Tsvangirai said “if security forces killed demonstrators and the Government introduced bond notes, his party would resort to violence”.
The opposition leader mapped out three scenarios that would lead to a violent “endgame” — which was also the theme of yesterday’s commemorations.
He said: “We want to make sure that this regime faces the end. Now, how will this end? The endgame will come in two ways: the first option of the endgame is the violent endgame. A violent endgame in which the State starts beating up people. We know Mugabe’s record has been a record of Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina of 2008 and recently against the people who were demonstrating.
“That option yakaoma. Mugabe must choose between these two options — the violent option. If we reach the point at which a person is shot by a bullet because he had been demonstrating, it will become nasty. If we get to a point where he introduces bond notes, no, it won’t do. If he wants to appoint his wife as President, we will resist that,” he said.
He said President Mugabe must retire, arguing that “the whole world — not just (Botswana President Ian) Khama wanted him to step down from power.”
He repeated the current opposition mantra that the country’s leader should step down and pave way for the so-called national transitional authority.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s commemorations were characterised by strong factional undercurrents as party members loyal to deputy president Ms Thokozani Khupe openly showed their disgruntlement with the recent appointments of Messrs Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as additional deputies to Mr Tsvangirai. A number of grassroots supporters intermittently disrupted proceeding through song and dance in praise of Ms Khupe.
The Bulawayo “strongwoman” had earlier made her claim to the turf by staging a “grand entrance” into White City Stadium when delegates, including Mr Tsvangirai, had all been seated and she was duly greeted with ululations and chants.
In her brief address, Ms Khupe even saluted herself. Messrs Chamisa and Mudzuri cast lonely figures at the high table as some speakers decided not to salute them, opting to elevate Ms Khupe.
Ms Khupe, a long time deputy president at MDC-T is understood to have been riled by the appointments of the latter co-vice presidents as she regarded it to be an affront to her ambitions of succeeding Mr Tsvangirai, who is suffering from cancer and has been undergoing treatment in South Africa.
She has the support of senior figures such as secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora and spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu, who absented himself from yesterday’s celebrations.
Zimbabwe People First party’s Mr Dzikamai Mavhaire, Temba Mliswa of Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy and representatives from Professor Welshman Ncube led MDC, student and civic organisations were present. US Embassy officials were also present.
Yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said law enforcement agents would deal with any threats of violence.
“Zanu-PF is not violent, police are not violent. If you look in the past five years, MDC-T has been causing violence, particularly ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, and this is to attract the attention of Western governments,” said Dr Chombo.
“My advice … is that if he (Mr Tsvangirai) wants to have a demonstration, it’s their constitutional right and he should go to a local police station and notify the senior officer there; he doesn’t have to get Dr (Augustine) Chihuri (Police Commissioner General).”
State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi told our Harare Bureau that the Government was aware that MDC-T was training bandits since the early 2000s but any efforts to cause chaos would be dealt with accordingly.
In recent months, opposition-linked terror gangs have been causing chaos in Harare, Bulawayo and Beitbridge; running riot, damaging and looting property.
“It has been known as far back as 2000 that MDC-T has been training bandits and they still do; if they continue training these militias and attack the Government we are there to defend. We will defend the country at all cost,” said Minister Mohadi.
Police Chief Dr Chihuri also warned those seeking to destabilise the country and assured citizens of safety.
“Zimbabwe is safe and people should not worry; they are fully protected.
“It is not the duty of the police alone to ensure security but it is everyone’s responsibility including journalists because they have the capacity to educate and inform people,” he said at the annual Police-Commissioner’s Fun Fair in Harare yesterday.
He warned social media abusers from trying to disturb the peace. By Vusumuzi Dube and Tichaona Zindoga source-sundaynews