MVURWI — MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was yesterday forced to address his campaign rally outside Mvurwi Stadium, his intended venue, after hundreds of Zanu PF supporters besieged the arena, playing soccer matches.
Report by Veneranda Langa
MDC-T officials told NewsDay that they had booked the stadium earlier for their star rally, but Zanu PF supporters gathered inside the venue in the morning to block the rally.
Guruve South MDC-T youth chairman Fanuel Chitsungo, who was at the Mvurwi rally, said: “We booked the stadium, but in the morning (yesterday) we were told Zanu PF had booked the stadium and we were supposed to pay $1 500. As a party, we decided to use space outside the stadium. There was no noise, but they tried to provoke us by distributing Zanu PF T-shirts near where we were.”
When Tsvangirai arrived in the afternoon, some of the Zanu PF supporters started trickling out of stadium and could be seen listening stealthily to the speeches.
In his address, Tsvangirai blasted Zanu PF’s “culture of disturbing MDC rallies”, adding most State security agents who used to torment his party supporters had now come to their senses and realised that violence would not win them votes.
“Everywhere we are going the story is the same: that Zanu PF is intimidating people. The people of Mashonaland Central have suffered for long and have never enjoyed freedom even after independence. They continue to live in a Rhodesian environment. They should be allowed to have freedom of choice,” said Tsvangirai.
“The Zanu PF youths are given scuds (opaque beer) to behave in this deplorable manner. Some are even wearing trousers without underwear, but they swear they want to die for Zanu PF.”
The party’s organising secretary Nelson Chamisa said: “Never mind the Zanu PF people. The fist (Zanu PF symbol) no longer has power. It can hit the flesh, but not the heart and so on July 31 everyone votes for the open palm (MDC-T symbol).”
Later on the MDC-T leader had to call off his rally in Guruve as he went to attend to 40 party activists who had been arrested.
His Glendale rally almost failed to take place after he found the place almost deserted as several party supporters had been allegedly intimidated by Zanu PF activists. About 1 000 of his supporters, however, later converged at the venue, but Zanu PF supporters in lorries disrupted the proceedings as they drove around the venue singing their party songs and effectively drowned Tsvangirai’s address. The MDC-T leader, however, continued with his address.
Local MDC-T supporters said when they went to report the disturbances at the local police station, they found the police playing Zanu PF songs from a computer. They said Zanu PF supporters who had followed them to the police station also entered the charge office and started dancing to their party songs that the police were playing – making so much noise the police could not record their complaints.