AN estimated 50 000 MDC-T supporters thronged the open space behind Rainbow Towers in Harare — dubbed “Freedom Square” —yesterday for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s final rally ahead of tomorrow’s make-or-break elections.
Addressing the “Cross-Over” rally, Tsvangirai said he was ready to govern and would lead the people to a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and united Zimbabwe.
He said he was confident of winning tomorrow’s elections despite what he claimed to be overwhelming evidence of plots to rig by Zanu PF with suspected connivance of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
“We will make one of the most important choices since 1980. It’s a choice between a bleak yesterday and a better tomorrow, between revival and retrogression, a choice between authoritarianism and a democratic government,” said Tsvangirai.
“We want our old man (President Robert Mugabe) to go and rest peacefully. Why is Zanu PF abusing this old man when they have young people in the party? Today’s problems can’t be solved by yesterday’s people.”
Tsvangirai said there was evidence of rigging, but urged his supporters to endure all efforts to frustrate them and make sure they vote.
“What is the role of Zec in this electoral process? In the last couple of weeks, we have raised concerns and sought for information we should have. Two days before elections, I, as a Presidential candidate, don’t have a voters’ roll,” said Tsvangirai.
“Our chief election agent (Morgan) Komichi is in custody. We are not aware who is printing the ballots.
It is clear that Zec is either complicit or has abdicated its responsibility to someone. If they are not capable (of holding free and fair polls), they should say so or resign for the public interest.
“I told observers, I told (leader of the African Union observer team) Olusegun Obasanjo that the credibility lies in the behaviour of and conduct of Zec. We put them there (Zec commissioners) with a view that they will change, but it appears that they are not up to that responsibility . . . do the honourable thing and go.
“This is not a threat, but for a long time, the people of Zimbabwe have been shortchanged in the manner elections have been held. In 2002, they rigged; in 2008, they rigged, this time they won’t. Don’t you dare do that again.”
Tsvangirai said he would not “respect the deliberate attempt to subvert the will of the people”.
“I will be President and I will not be a passive President. I must be a President with a vision and a mission. Our mission is a modern, democratic and developmental State. There is no country without national unity of purpose. The issue of peace and unity is my mission to make sure the country progresses.”
Tsvangirai warned party supporters who were itching for revenge to stop as they would be arrested.
“This country needs stability and progress that will not come when people fight. Unity binds people together. I am not talking of forced unity, but unity that binds people from across the race, ethnic and political divide. The country needs to go forward,” Tsvangirai said.
“As I stand here before you, I am a survivor. I was beaten up and incarcerated for no reason. I was treated like a common criminal, but I am not bitter. I have forgiven my tormentors, I have prayed for them and I ask God to forgive them. The reason is I don’t want to be a prisoner of bitterness and revenge. I am a builder and not a destroyer.
“Cast away your bitterness and forgive our erstwhile enemies and work hand in hand with them for a new Zimbabwe. I want Mugabe to enjoy his retirement in peace and comfort. Let bygones be bygones and allow this country to move forward. We have lost friends and cadres, they will not return, but we owe them one thing: Let’s go and vote,” Tsvangirai said.
He said he would work towards addressing the plight of civil servants and make sure all the money stolen in government was accounted for.
On the securocrats, Tsvangirai said his government would work towards a non-partisan security force where people were promoted on merit.