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Tsvangirai tells Generals off

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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said the power to choose national leaders was vested in voters and not military or police chiefs.

Report by Dumisani Sibanda

The MDC-T leader was addressing more than 15 000 people who attended his party’s star rally at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare.

And, in apparent disdain of declarations by security generals and commanders who have vowed never to salute Tsvangirai even were he to win elections, the party’s “battalion” of youths marched in front of their leader and saluted him military style.

Tsvangirai said the constitution required security institutions to be “professional and non-partisan” adding that was what he expected to see happening.

“They should be professional and respect the wishes of the people,” he said. “I don’t get my mandate from anyone else except the people of Zimbabwe.”

Tsvangirai said it was unfortunate that securocrats had chosen to pronounce their individual political views instead of sticking to their mandate of protecting the people.

He said before elections could be held, the Global Political Agreement had to be “implemented in full” and security reforms were part of the items still outstanding.
There was need to draw a code of conduct for the security sector, he said.

The Prime Minister blasted the State media for allegedly allowing itself to be used as a “propaganda mouthpiece for Zanu PF”. That was the reason his party was calling for media reforms before elections, he said.

There was an obsession in the State media to vilify his person, Tsvangirai said amid rapturous applause.

The MDC-T, he said, had seen through Zanu PF’s tricks to rig elections through the voter registration exercise and would ensure the former ruling party did not steal the ballot this time.

“We have agreed as Cabinet that every Tuesday we will discuss the voter registration issue until every one who is eligible and wants to register is registered,” said the PM.

“After the constitution becomes law, we will have one month of voter registration and all schools are going to be voter registration centres (during weekends). During Saturdays and Sundays when teachers are not in class they will carry out voter registration.

“Every ward will have at least one permanent voter registration station. After the voter registration exercise there will be a month-long process of voter inspection.

“We know Zanu PF wants to use voter transfer to rig the elections transferring some people from Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe to Harare, but we will detect them and flush them out.”
Tsvangirai said after voter inspection, he would sit down with the President and set the date of the elections and it will be this year before October 30.

He said his party was seeking an “undiluted mandate” to lead the economic and political transformation of Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai said it was important for Zimbabwe to develop into a modern industrial country and that could only happen by creating conditions that attracted foreign direct investment.
“We will revise the indigenisation laws because indigenisation without broad-based empowerment of the masses is a futile exercise,” he said. “It amounts to the enrichment of a few.”
Tsvangirai said there was need to strengthen the country’s education system by ensuring that primary school education was made free.

He said the government should support vulnerable children especially in the wake of the Aids pandemic.

Tsvangirai was accompanied by his wife Elizabeth.

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