MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said he will not step down from the leadership of the party because he lost the July 31 election to President Robert Mugabe, but instead called for renewed talks with his archrival for a political settlement to arrest the crisis bedevilling the country.
Moses Matenga,Staff Reporter
Tsvangirai told hundreds of party supporters, diplomats and the party’s leadership at a local hotel in Harare last night during his State of the nation address that six months after elections, Zimbabwe was faced with a serious crisis.
“Yes, they may needlessly continue to humiliate me, engage in protracted Press wars against my person, batter me in a police station, kill innocent Zimbabweans and
torture me and the millions who believe in democratic change.
“All they may achieve is to slacken my pace, but I can assure you they will not in any way weaken my resolve and determination for national service and sacrifice. I will continue to boldly stride with confidence and greater willpower in my quest to bring real change, democracy and positive transformation in Zimbabwe,” the former Prime Minister said.
Faced with internal pressure to quit by some in his party accusing him of failure to defeat Mugabe, Tsvangirai said he was going nowhere yet.
“For somebody to suggest that I resign because I went into an election, come on, it was not a personal decision. If I had stood on a platform and said I knew the election would be rigged, you were going to beat me up. You would be the first to accuse me of selling out. We need reforms before elections, once bitten twice shy.
“We have remained resolute in our quest to achieve and deliver change through democratic means. Some may be fatigued and may have begun to lose faith in the ballot.”
The MDC-T leader said: “We must continue knocking on the door of possibility until we achieve our national dream. Power without character is meaningless,” Tsvangirai said.
“We shall continue to fight all manifestations of the unbridled pursuit of power retention for power’s sake that has nothing to do with the people.
“We have always known as a party that the struggle was not going to be a stroll in the park.”
Tsvangirai said the solution to the current crisis was unconditional dialogue with Zanu PF that had exhibited cluelessness in dealing with the crisis.
Faced with a similar crisis in 2008, Tsvangirai said the party engaged in dialogue and carved out a home-grown solution to the problems bedevilling the country at the time.
“There is no substitute for dialogue. As MDC, we believe that the meeting of stakeholders from different backgrounds would be a positive start,” he said.
He said Sadc failed to come up with proper mechanisms for implementing the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and gave Mugabe the leeway to subvert the agreements the principals would have made.
“Sadc didn’t provide the mechanisms for implementation and at the end, it was to be consensus of which without the consensus, the status quo remained,” Tsvangirai said.
“I remember the media reforms we discussed as principals and Mugabe would come to say: ‘I told (Webster) Shamu to implement, but he is not’ and would promise to tell him again. It would go round and round. We placed hope in the sincerity of Zanu PF and we were shortchanged. The MDC is part of the solution to the national crisis.”
Present at the event was United States Ambassador Bruce Wharton, German Ambassador Hans Gnodtar and other Western diplomats.
The former Prime Minister said he was inspired by the late former South African president Nelson Mandela and his tenacity and resilience to continue with his fight and struggle despite setbacks and frustrations.
Tsvangirai said he had since taken a decision that whatever is done by enemies of this great people’s project would not break his spirit.
“They may continue with their unbridled malice and open provocation, including stealing our vote in broad daylight as they did last year, but I tell you, they will not succeed in breaking our collective spirit.”
He took a swipe at the mega-salaries earned by PSMAS executives at the expense of one million members, mostly civil servants.
Tsvangirai continued his call for fresh elections and the need to overhaul the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.