Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday assured his supporters that the next election would be violence-free.
He was speaking in the politically volatile high-density suburb of Mabvuku, Harare, in which neighbourhood brutal murders of well-known local MDC-T activists like Tonderai Ndira took place in the 2008 elections.
Tsvangirai said his party would this time not brook political violence and promised Zimbabweans that all perpetrators of political violence “including (war veterans, leader) Jabulani Sibanda” would be arrested if they did not change their violent ways.
The PM did not however tell the people how he hoped to achieve this feat in a country that is increasingly getting polarised along political lines and where political temperature has already begun to rise.
All he said was: “We are mobilising the international, regional and local powers to ensure there is no violence.
President Robert Mugabe wants elections next year, he is tired and want to rest let’s make him rest.”
“If he wants elections there is no problem.
That is not an issue. Let’s denounce violence and my assurance is don’t be afraid,” he said.
Tsvangirai however seemed to imply he would stop or boycott elections if violence continued.
“There will be no violence in the next elections and there will be no election in this country with violence,” he said.
Tsvangirai said the violent June 2008 election was a thing of the past and people do not have to panic but stand to finish the job of “burying Zanu PF”.
He blasted Sibanda for his alleged continued terror campaign in parts of Masvingo province.
“They unleashed violence on innocent people through Operation Don’t Speak in Villages and now they come to Harare with that same evil spirit.
Before we go there (to the referendum), we want them to be arrested.
“There is a war veteran (Jabulani) Sibanda who is terrorising villagers.
What makes him special? He has to be arrested,” Tsvangirai fumed.
“The Constitution is yours and not Zanu PF’s.
The biggest problem we have in Zimbabwe is Zanu PF violence.”
“To all those being used by Zanu PF to unleash violence on innocent people, beware because you will face the music,” he warned.
The MDC-T leader reiterated that President Mugabe had no right to limit or extend the lifespan of the inclusive government and that his party was ready to bury Zanu PF once and for all, come election time, probably next year.
In his first public response to President Mugabe’s outbursts over the weekend, Tsvangirai said the President was old and needed to rest.
Tsvangirai said he had been incensed by President Mugabe’s intransigence and said it was now time to demand what his party had benevolently given to Zanu PF.
“Now we are not demanding those few things only. We want everything, even those we had set aside,” he said.
“You voted for the MDC-T and told Zanu PF you no longer wanted them but then you know what happened.
After the election President Mugabe unleashed armed forces on unarmed civilians.
He declared war on the people for voting him out,” said Tsvangirai.
“For the last two years we have seen schools and clinics re-open, we have food on our tables and everyone is happy.
Then we have President Mugabe saying he doesn’t want to implement the GPA.
He is now refusing to swear in Roy Bennett and he has unilaterally appointed governors and envoys,” said Tsvangirai.
“Whatever he did was illegal and I don’t have to be a lawyer to see that I have been duped,” he said.
“It’s a shared compromise and on his own, he cannot constitute the GPA,” he said.
Meanwhile, police at Southerton Police Station have barred the MDC-T from holding a consultative meeting at Cyril Jennings Hall in Highfield, Harare.
Police claim they had not been notified on time of the meeting Tsvangirai was supposed to address yesterday.
MDC-T Harare provincial chairperson Morgan Femai said the police were notified by the party’s provincial secretary Tsaurai Marima of their intention to hold the meeting but the police turned down the application on grounds that they had not been informed in advance.