OPPOSITION MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai says his party has adopted a confrontational approach and was geared to take President Robert Mugabe’s government head-on through streets protests after the latter spurned his party’s call for dialogue to rescue the economy.
Tsvangirai made the remarks in Masvingo at the weekend during his keynote address to over 15 000 supporters who attended the party’s 15th anniversary celebrations.
Looking weary, Tsvangirai told his supporters that Mugabe continued not to take their offer for dialogue at his own peril and now it was time the MDC-T changed tact in its quest to bring change in the country.
Tsvangirai said: “I want to conclude by restating that we have now drawn a line in the sand. We called for dialogue, but our
genuine offer was spurned. We are sending out a clear and unequivocal message that we reserve our right to mobilise the people for the ultimate people’s victory through a free, fair and credible election.”
He added that the fight has been long drawn out, but it was nearing the end game.
“We pledge a new paradigm that will address our current predicament and the solution to the serious crisis that we face as a nation,” he added.
The party’s call for change of tact comes on the backdrop of the MDC-T youths holding two street demonstrations in Harare last month which were violently quashed by anti-riot police, leaving some opposition party activists injured and arrested.
The demonstrations, couched under the theme We want jobs, were meant to force the Zanu PF government to deliver on its election promises and accept that the July 2013 elections were flawed.
Meanwhile, the party’s early congress has started in earnest after it dispatched invitation letters to about 5 000 delegates to start preparations for congress next month.
The letters open the doors for aspiring politicians to start lobbying and canvassing for votes at the congress.
“This anniversary is a forerunner to a watershed congress in October where the key event will not be elections for top positions, important though they may be because we are a democratic party,” Tsvangirai said.
Many insiders said Tsvangirai’s leadership will be tested to the limit at this congress as many members were reportedly against the proposed constitutional amendments, especially the clause which proposes to give him power to make executive appointments.
The congress was brought forward earlier this year as choruses for Tsvangirai to step down were getting to a crescendo among his lieutenants, resulting in the defection of several top officials, among them former secretary-general Tendai Biti and former deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma.
Biti’s group, now known as MDC Renewal Team, has said it would have its own congress next March.