Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Tsvangirai rally betrays widening affluence gap

By Moses Matenga

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is stepping up his election campaigns, taking his canvass for votes ahead of next year’s polls to his rural Buhera village last weekend. 

Posh cars at an MDC-T rally in Mutare in 2009
Posh cars at an MDC-T rally in Mutare in 2009

His arch-rival, President Robert Mugabe has also been doing the rounds, laying the ground for what promises to be a titanic election battle given the high stakes for both candidates.

If Tsvangirai loses, it is likely to mark the end of his struggle to capture to the presidency, while a defeat for Mugabe will sound the death knell for his rule and long political career.

MDC leader and Industry and Commerce minister, Welshman Ncube, has also been tirelessly campaigning in preparation for his maiden foray into the uncharted territory.

Addressing thousands of people at the Buhera memorial rally last Saturday, Tsvangirai touched on the upcoming elections, MDC-T primaries, the constitution-making process, politically-motivated violence, diamonds, source of funding for Mugabe’s input scheme and the economy.

In a bid to re-invigorate his base, the MDC-T leader said victims of political violence have defined the path of the struggle and his supporters must now finish the job. “We suffered a lot, but the resilience of people, their commitment, and their courageousness has stood the test of time,” he said.

The fruits of Independence, Tsvangirai said, have not cascaded to the general population. “If you reflect back and ask yourself – has my life changed from 1980? The answer is a strong No,” he noted. Tsvangirai implored the party faithful to remain focused and fight as a united force.

“We might have our personal differences but when it comes to party business, we should all have unity of purpose. We should fight like a pack of lions. We have beaten them the last time and so what can stop us now from repeating history?” he said.

While Tsvangirai’s grassroots messages resonated with the bumper crowd, the affluence gap between the visibly well-off senior MDC-T officials and poor masses was glaring. On the side-lines of the gathering, some villagers noted the rapid transformation of the MDC-T leaders from their humble days in 2000 when they started off to now after amassing wealth.

The vast difference between the villagers, desperately eking out a hand-to-mouth existence and the lavish lifestyles of top MDC-T officials and ministers who rolled into Tsvangirai’s home area of Humanikwa village — about 200km away from their posh houses in Harare — in top-of-the-range vehicles and swanky attire, was all too visible.

The poverty-stricken rustic folk, some of whom travelled on foot for long distances to attend the rally for victims of political violence at the hands of Zanu PF, looked at the luxurious cars, ranging from the latest Mercedes Benz, Range Rovers and Land Rovers, to Land Cruisers and Prados with envy and resentment as proved by their furtive chats in hushed tones among each other.

Apart from Tsvangirai, other MDC-T heavyweights who attended include Thokozani Khupe, Lovemore Moyo, Nelson Chamisa, Theresa and Ian Makone, Murisi Zwizwai, and Giles Mutsekwa, among others.

MPs from Manicaland were not to be outdone as they arrived in Isuzu double-cabs and Madza BT50s — luxurious cars by village standards. Tsvangirai’s mother, Lydia, clad in a deep red designer suit and cream wedding hat, arrived in style in a black Isuzu accompanied by relatives, all looking rather affluent.

Villagers started arriving at the venue around 8am, two hours before the rally was scheduled to start. Tsvangirai arrived amid dramatic scenes with his wife Elizabeth Macheka in a convoy of four cars shortly after 11am.

As he disembarked from his silver Land Cruiser clad in an exquisite blue, white and red wide-striped casual shirt, dark blue trousers and a beige cap, jubilant villagers burst into scenes of joy as women ululated and men whistled amid a crescendo of shouts of Tsvangirai’s totem “Save, Save, Save. . .”.

The rally was a microcosm of the widening gap between the poor and the rich on a national scale.

This was made more conspicuous by the eye-catching Elizabeth who was exquisitely clad in purple head gear and bright blue, red, yellow and purple “African attire” with a turquoise blue lace over the upper top and arms.

For a moment, save for the sight of the gathered humble rural folk, looking at the MDC-T officials in expensive attire, matching hats and shoes and their luxury vehicles, the “ bling bling” made the memorial appear like a high-society carnival event.

However, the jubilant supporters sang, danced, whistled and ululated under the scorching heat of the sun which seemingly did little to sap their energies.

Although Tsvangirai and his colleagues later parcelled out small quantities of groceries which included cooking oil, sugar, soap and mealie-meal, his political show of benevolence could not to hide the reality that MDC-T officials were an island of prosperity in a sea of poverty –– something which diluted his somewhat mass-appealing delivery at the rally. Zimbabwe Independent

  • jojo


  • Mareva nhema

    Just wondering whether the reporter is suggesting an office bearer,who gets paid monthly in addition to various perks,should be as poor as the folk referred to.
    Are ZANU PF as poor as the pple who voted them into office?
    Unfortunately MDC-T wl win the next vote.

  • Rudo Chikala

    Do you expect the PM to ride a motorbike Cdes??Let’s be realistic guys.With Zanu Pf Sharks wanting every drop of their blood these officials need fast machines..

    • nyacent

      goodone rudo…goodone…

  • Tawanda


  • Mnyando

    Poor reporting. Unoda kuda kuti vafambe nengoro vakapfeka nhembe here?

  • Ndeye kwake nezvimbwasungata zvake

  • Ndeye kwake nezvimbwasungata zvake

  • May the reporter be reminded that most of these officials are govt ministers who drive govt vehicles, it is not their personal vehicles. Also, every minister has dressing allowance. Generally, rural folk are poorer or less sophisticated than their urban counterparts. Apa ndipo pashaikwa nyaya!!! Munoda kuti amai vafambe vasina shashiko kuratidza kuti vatambura????

  • conrad

    Mps and ministers are given soft loans to buy cars of their choice, generally in Zim these past three yrs have seen almost everyone buying posh cars. Just go around the capital city and see good houses pple are building.

  • comrade

    Iwe reporter tanga wafamba ne”socks pedzisa” type of trousers neJombo so that PM nevamwe vake vagokutevedzera. Save chenai kusvika pamunodira!

  • KRS 1

    this glaring division between the avarage man and top MDc OFFICIALS means there are some difficulties that they will face at the polls and in their campaigns.

    from the MDC arsenal the weapon of simply accusing the Zanu pf as looters who are aiming at enriching themselves which was confirmed by the luxury amongst Zanu pf top brass as in the public eye they are now seen in the same light.they cannot even play the corruption card as their own in gvt have proven to be corrupt also.

    this therefore means that the MDC has to deliver an innovative programme which has to be presented to the public and for this programme to gain support in the country to rival the coherant and people empowering indigenisation and land reform.

    the truth is with or without political violence,the MDC will find it more difficult to gain support amongst the populace compared to in the past

    • Free Spirit

      spot on! and unfortunately for the MDCs ma diamonds ava bhoo! let me tell u exactly what that means: the card which MDC heavily relies on; the impoverishment of zimbabweans falls away – now zimbos begin to look up, there is hope for real economic growth. MDC cannot keep on saying zhara muchafa nayo! to lure votes.

  • hlax

    PM ishark saka shark rotoda mvura yemota huye shark rino famba nepamupata rotoda micheka yakasimba huye ino dhura kikiki varegei vakatambura vakomana vaya.biased report

  • Prime Minister angabve aenzana nevanhu vekumusha here?? even wemutahwindi vacho..ashaya nyaya yekunyora..lol

  • Calisto

    The problem with Zimbabweans is that you are too willing to accept mediocrity. Isn’t it odd that there are so many people who are prepared to critisize the reporter because the article dares challenge the accumulation of wealth by the MDC since getting into that waste of time unity government that has only helped to get the MDC on the gravy train and nothing else. If you don’t see anything wrong with having so-called would be liberators lining their pockets whilst the poor scrounge around for a living and glare at them with envy, then you deserve to be oppressed.

  • Calisto

    Reading these comments makes me realise how far we still have to go to understand the accountability of our so-called leaders. It is not right that someone who is supposed to be representing the hopes of the oppressed lives in absolute splendour, holds a lavish wedding and has an opulent home built for him while there are fathers who watch their children sleep on empty stomachs in Zimbabwe. Where is the difference between the corruption of Zanu PF and the MDC politicians then. They are both reaping the rewards of political office at the expense of the rest are they not? This is how the Zanu PF monster was created, by accepting individuals as demi-gods and letting them get away with everything, calling them shef etc. Why? Why accept that? Someone on a previous comment talked about MPs getting allowances for cars hence the fancy rides. And you think that’s ok? In a country like ours? Is that not just self gratification and selfishness from the politicians on both sides of the house? You all need to open your eyes. I can’t believe the lack of insight here. What a shame!

  • Gushaz

    Regai varume vambo blingar vaka zvishandira zvinhu izvi

  • davison njara

    if it ws c.e.o we cbz bank arriving driving mazda 323,what wld this reporter say abt the bank and the man?wat mo prime ministr of zim nd presdent of a local party.SHALLOW REPORTING

  • peter wilson

    do you block comments, it seems as though all your articles have no comments which is very weird for a publication of your magnitude. you are hypocrites as you dont allow different opinions for fear of been slated for your foolish editorial, you are no different from the herald. Silly paper.

  • mhofu

    i jus have one question for you reporter…so u want these guys kuti varambe mota dzavanopiwa negovernment vofamba nedatsun 120y kuti zvigonzi they care for the pooor….seriously munhu waprime minister womuona achiburuka mucorrolla…takutaura nezveinternational image yenyika pano apa because h doesnt jus mirira MDC bt Zim too….vanopiwa maloan ekuti vatenge mota and most of these cars ar gvt vehicles….ukuda kukwira combi naPM manje….vanhu veIndependent we knw u hate Tsvangison wenyu ndiMakoni…sillly

  • Agila

    Personally thats the reason i dont vote. these guys are not campaigning to serve the people but they are fending for their families chete