Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Wednesday snubbed the official launch of President Robert Mugabe’s anti-sanctions crusade, describing the event as a Zanu PF project.
However, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo immediately shot back, accusing the MDC-T of breaching provisions of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) where the party committed to cooperate in denouncing the sanctions.
But Tsvangirai said he was concerned about the violations of people’s rights and the upsurge of politically –motivated violence “in the name of an election”.
He said Sadc, the African Union and the international community should keep an eye on the country because it risked “sliding over the precipice” if the guarantors of the GPA did not take immediate action to come up with a binding roadmap as a precondition ahead of the next election.
Tsvangirai told a media conference in Harare the anti-sanctions campaign was a Zanu PF programme.
“First of all we have to be clear that today’s (Wednesday) programme was a Zanu PF function,” Tsvangirai said.
He accused Zanu PF of abusing the government insignia when it placed an advert in The Herald newspaper announcing Wednesday’s “million men march”.
Tsvangirai said the programme was organised by Zanu PF and its party slogans were constantly chanted during the proceedings.
“The abuse was a Zanu PF character,” he said.
“There was no way I could have attended the function. How do I attend a function where I am being denounced?”
Gumbo said Zanu PF was not surprised Tsvangirai and his party officials did not participate in the campaign because “they are the ones who sponsored the sanctions”.
“How can they come when they campaigned for the sanctions? ” Gumbo said.
“If they feel they do not want to be part of the anti-sanctions campaign, it’s up to them. It’s part of the GPA. They accuse Zanu PF of not fulfilling the GPA but the removal of sanctions is part of the GPA.”
Responding to President Mugabe’s call to grab foreign firms, Tsvangirai said it was not legally possible for the government to seize foreign-owned companies.
He said this could only be done by “thugs” and not a government.
“We never sat as Cabinet to talk about it. How are they going to do it? If it is going to be done it will be done by thugs and people who do not respect the rule of law,” said Tsvangirai.
He said the threats against foreign-owned firms were contrary to the drive the government had embarked on to lure foreign investment into the country.
“How do we attract investment if we do that? The opening of one mouth takes the country to the dogs,” he said.
But Youth and Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere told NewsDay: “All we are saying is that we have laws in this country and whatever we are doing is within the confines of the laws of the land. I do not see where the issue of thugs comes from.”
Earlier the MDC-T had distanced Tsvangirai from ZBC radio bulletins which suggested he was part of the programme.
“Contrary to incessant ZBC broadcasts that President Tsvangirai is set to be on the line up of signatories to the Zanu PF violence petition, the MDC wishes to distance itself from such blatant lies,” read a statement from the MDC-T.
“Neither President Tsvangirai nor any MDC officials and members are associated with this Zanu PF project.”