MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday dismissed increasing calls for him to step down following his defeat by President Robert Mugabe as mere pub talk.
MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett and former MP Ian Kay are some of the senior party officials who have publicly called for leadership renewal in the party following Tsvangirai’s dismal performance in the July 31 elections.
Addressing the 21 party supporters who were recently acquitted by the High Court after spending 28 months in remand prison for the alleged murder of police inspector Petros Mutedza in Glen View, Harare, the MDC-T leader said party members should take a leaf from former South African President Nelson Mandela who endured 27 years in prison, but never gave up until his country became independent.
He said the negative reports being peddled by the party’s detractors should spur MDC-T members to fight on.
“You were arrested for two years,” Tsvangirai said. “You have served (time) although you were innocent and this is the injustice we are fighting. You are free now, but you should know that freedom is hard to come by. The arrests are meant to demoralise you. Struggle is not an instant coffee, but a process. We are prepared for a marathon, not a sprint. With the July 31 polls, the struggle has been deferred, but not abandoned.
“Others were already suffering from support fatigue, but as the leader of the party, I call upon all of you to continue with the struggle until we achieve freedom. The spirit is to continue fighting,” Tsvangirai said.
Tsvangirai and his party has refused to accept defeat claiming widespread rigging.
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Yesterday he said he was still committed to fight the injustices that saw his supporters spending several months behind bars for a crime they did not commit.
“This is the system that we are fighting against. We cannot have a system that targets activists and the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Let us remember there are other seven activists that have yet to stand trial for a crime they did not commit. Our spirits and support are with them.”