Sadc and African Union leaders now understand President Robert Mugabe is the major cause of the country’s problems which is why they have toughened their stance and insist on free and fair elections, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said.
Addressing a campaign rally at Pfupajena Stadium in Chegutu yesterday, the MDC-T leader accused President Mugabe of turning away investors and said the next elections would be crucial for the economy.
He said Sadc was doing a commendable job to ensure the country held credible elections through insistence on an election roadmap.
“We thank Sadc because in the previous years they didn’t understand Zimbabweans. Now they know that the problems in Zimbabwe have to do with governance and that (President) Mugabe is at the core of the governance crisis,” he said.
“That’s why they said Zimbabweans must sit, negotiate and come up with an election roadmap.”
Tsvangirai said he was itching for free and fair elections, to bring an end to the inclusive government which he said had failed to perform especially in the last six months due to deep policy differences.
He, however, said in line with the election roadmap, the constitution-making exercise should be completed to pave way for voters’ registration and delimitation of constituencies before the polls could be held.
He said there must be an agreement that violence would not be tolerated adding that the will of the people should be respected.
The Prime Minister urged his party supporters not to be swayed by recent remarks by the country’s Zanu PF-aligned security chiefs who described him as a national security threat.
Tsvangirai singled out Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba who he described as a single cloud which did not signify the coming of the rainy season.
“How can you have so much hatred?” Tsvangirai asked of Nyikayaramba. “Did I take your woman? Don’t be threatened, he is a single cloud. If you see a cloud, it doesn’t mean there will be rain.”
The PM said the Zimbabwean economy had a lot of potential for growth but investors were shying away from the country because of policy inconsistency which he blamed on President Mugabe.
“You can’t have a conflict of policy. On one hand, you have the Minister of Indigenisation wanting to take over companies while the Minister of Investment Promotion wants to attract investors,” he said.
“People are interested in investing, but there is no one who is going to invest in an environment where their business is threatened.
“. . . They are saying they won’t come if a person like (President) Mugabe is there. Today you announce this policy, tomorrow that policy, what do you represent?” he asked. He said companies such as David Whitehead which were employing a lot of people in Chegutu, should be revived.
Tsvangirai said his party wanted good relations with the international community regardless of whether they were from the West or the East. He scoffed at allegations that his office was spending a lot of money travelling, accusing President Mugabe of going on unnecessary trips.
“Where is (President) Mugabe right now? He is at a youth conference. Is he young? How can you have an 87-year-old sharing with an 18-year-old?” he said amid laughter.