Tsvangirai hints at violent removal of Mugabe
By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
President Robert faces only two options—a violent end to his rule or a peaceful transition that would still ensure he is removed from power—says Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T).
He was addressing thousands of party supporters at White City Stadium in Bulawayo where MDC-T marked its 17th anniversary on Saturday.
Despite strong arm reactions to citizen and political party demonstrations since July, Zimbabweans look unfazed in their quest for a new establishment as frustration with the Zanu PF government that Mugabe leads spreads.
Tsvangirai said Zimbabweans would continue to confront the government that is presiding over an economy that faces collapse
“This is a regime that survives on violence against innocent people. We want to make sure that this regime faces its end.
“There are two options to the endgame. The first option is a violent endgame. The second option is a peaceful transition,” said Tsvangirai.
There is a growing call among opposition parties for a National Transitional Authority (NTA) that would manage the affairs of the country till general elections in 2018.
The parties, however, are not agreed on what model the NTA would use, but there is a consensus that Mugabe must not be part of it as they blame him for ruining the economy and failing to fix it amidst growing corruption and human rights abuses.
Some analysts have suggested that the United Nations (UN) must stir the NTA that would comprise reputable and non-partisan figureheads.
“Mugabe must choose between these two options; a violent option where we get to a point where someone is shot with live ammunition because he or she was simply demonstrating, or when we reach a stage where Mugabe chooses to install his wife Grace as president then it becomes gloves off and we confront the regime,” Tsvangirai said.
“But there is an alternative option. Mugabe must retire. The whole world is now saying Mugabe must retire, and after he retires there comes a peaceful transition,” added Tsvangirai.
The powerful Zanu PF women’s assembly recently backed Mugabe to contest the 2018 presidential poll when he would have turned 94.
The women’s wing is backed by a faction in Zanu PF, Generation 40 (G40) that consists of party Young Turks.
This faction is fiercely opposed to another camp, Team Lacoste, that is led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and is enjoying the backing of top generals and war veterans led by former cabinet minister, Christopher Mutsvangwa.
Team Lacoste reportedly prefers Mugabe’s exit before the 2018 elections, with Mnangagwa taking over.
Political parties and civil activists have since August clashed with police for organising demonstrations in favour of electoral reforms that would ensure free, fair and credible polls in 2018.
Virtually all opposition parties are agreed that they must form a coalition to avoid splitting votes at the next elections, but they have also acknowledged that a political convergence without substantive electoral reforms would not guarantee them victory against Mugabe and Zanu PF.
“The issues of reforms are not negotiable. We have to continue fighting to get the electoral reforms. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must remove all obstacles to free and fair elections.
“Now as we go towards the 2018 elections, we know the elections have already been rigged. We know Zanu PF has sent 150 agents to Israel on election rigging tactics,” said Tsvangirai. Nehanda Radio