PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday poured scorn on outgoing Prime Minister and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, saying he “can go hang” if he is not prepared to accept the July 31 poll verdict which saw Zanu PF win by a landslide.
EVERSON MUSHAVA/OBEY MANAYITI
Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters attending Heroes’ Day commemorations at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare, Mugabe vowed that the MDC-T would never be allowed to rise from its crushing defeat.
The entire MDC-T leadership — including Tsvangirai and his MDC counterpart Welshman Ncube — boycotted the commemorations although Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who leads a breakaway faction of the MDC, did attend.
“Those who cannot accept defeat are wasting their time. They can even go and hang if they want, but even dogs will not sniff at their corpses,” Mugabe said, in apparent reference to the MDC-T.
“Never will we go back on our victory,” said the 89-year-old Zanu PF leader who was declared winner with 61% of the votes against Tsvangirai’s 33%, although the latter has dismissed the poll as flawed and launched a court challenge.
Tsvangirai, who is demanding a forensic audit of the election material and fresh polls within two months, has launched a petition with the Constitutional Court to have the poll results set aside.
The matter is set to be heard tomorrow.
Several Western countries and Botswana have also questioned the credibility of the polls.
Sadc Heads of State and Government are expected to discuss the matter at their summit in Malawi over the weekend.
However, Mugabe yesterday warned that taking him to court over poll results was a futile exercise.
“We have heard they have gone to consult a witchdoctor. Beware, they could be embarking on a futile exercise that could backfire,” Mugabe said to wild applause from his supporters who were waving party berets and national flags.
“They (MDCs) are the thieves, but they say we have stolen the election. We kept quiet when they stole the 2008 election using bogus non-governmental organisations. How can they say we are thieves when we have taken what belongs to us?
“The people have realised that they are thieves and voted them out. They are down and will never rise again. We never give the power to thieves,” he said, adding that the MDC-T were conduits of the Western powers.
“At some point, sellouts emerged from amongst us — those who allowed themselves to be used by our erstwhile colonisers to take our land from us. But we thank the people of Zimbabwe and truly we fought hard and we won.”
Mugabe also took a jibe at Western powers that have refused to accept his victory, describing them as affronts of the same democracy they purport to subscribe to.
“We voted democratically. We brought democracy. We have delivered democracy on a platter. If they do not want to take it, let it be, but the people have delivered it,” he said.
Turning to his Zanu PF government’s next five-year plan, Mugabe said they would focus on infrastructure development, improve health and education delivery systems and boost the manufacturing sector with emphasis on the party’s empowerment agenda that would see indigenous Zimbabweans control all sectors of the economy.
He pleaded for unity and also promised to fulfil the pre-election promises he made to the electorate among them, adjusting civil servants’ salaries.
“We have promised to address the issue of salaries and conditions of living. We pledge to fulfil this promise this year.”
Meanwhile, about 1 000 people gathered at the Manicaland Provincial Heroes’ Acre in Mutare to commemorate Heroes’ Day, a much smaller crowd compared to thousands of people who attended Zanu PF rallies in the run-up to the just-ended harmonised elections.
However, Zanu PF Manicaland spokesperson Charles Samuriwo defended the low turnout, saying it was not a Zanu PF event or holiday, but a State function.
“The question should be directed to the citizenry on why they do come to party events and not national events. As a party, we are happy because there are people here with Zanu PF regalia,” Samuriwo said.