FURIOUS Tsvangirai responds to
Mugabe’s threats
 September 12, 2016 
OnlineCorrespondent
HARARE – Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, angered by President Robert
Mugabe’s shocking threats and vitriolic
attacks on him and the MDC on Friday, has
bluntly told the increasingly frail
nonagenarian to prepare for the end of his
time in high office.
Speaking to the Daily News in an exclusive
interview at the weekend, the former prime
minister in the government of national unity
also warned Mugabe not to behave as if he
was “immortal” — adding that not even the
arrest and killing of dissenters would rescue
the nonagenarian and Zanu PF from the
wrath of long-suffering Zimbabweans.
“We have all seen the worst of Mugabe and
Zanu PF over the years, and if there is one
man who has witnessed this first hand it is
me. I have been beaten, thrown into jail on
trumped-up charges and have been tried for
treason. My wife also died in unclear
circumstances.
“I have quietly tried to put up with
Mugabe’s hurtful bragging about beating and
harassing me all these years, but it is
enough now. We have always known that we
are up against a dictator whose only
preoccupation is the retention of power by
any means necessary.
“Zimbabweans know that Mugabe will resort
to violence when challenged peacefully and
democratically. Let me warn him that he can
continue to beat us, or even kill us and do all
sorts of things, as is his natural tendency,
but what is inevitable is that he is not
immortal,” the usually unflappable Tsvangirai
said.
The former trade union leader, who defeated
Mugabe hands down in the hotly-disputed
2008 elections, also narrated “the countless
times” that Mugabe and Zanu PF had
attempted to “destroy me politically and
otherwise”, to no avail — including
arraigning him on trumped up treason
charges which were eventually thrown out by
the courts.
He also recounted how on March 11, 2007, he
had been arrested “for no reason at all” and
left for dead after he was bludgeoned
mercilessly by police while in custody, when
authorities crushed a prayer meeting that
had been organised in the Harare high
density suburb of Highfield.
A well-known cobbler and MDC activist, Gift
Tandare, was murdered in cold blood during
the sickening assaults, which all later
culminated in the subsequent intervention by
Sadc.
Mugabe — the only leader Zimbabweans have
known since the country gained its
independence from Britain in April 1980 — on
Friday ominously promised to crush and jail
all dissenters, including leaders of political
parties coalescing under the banner of the
National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera).
The warning came in the wake of a High
Court ruling which quashed a recent police
ban on protests in the capital, with Mugabe
telling the Zanu PF central committee that
the MDC and pro-democracy groups were
playing “a dangerous game” by agitating for
reforms and change in the country.
“The MDC has apparently now adopted a
policy of violence … we warn them that they
are playing a dangerous game, a very
dangerous game.
“They are bragging that they want to take
their violent demonstrations to rural areas
but again I say let them be warned that
when we move against them they should not
cry foul saying there is no more democracy in
the country.
“Some of them (opposition leaders) have
never been held in cells eating very little
food in a filthy place before they are even
tried in court. If they have ears to hear, let
them hear.
“Let the opposition parties and all those
angling for chaos and mayhem be warned
that our patience has run out. Government
will take very strong measures against any
political party, organisation or individuals
who perpetrate violent demonstrations,”
Mugabe said.
But Tsvangirai told the Daily News that
Mugabe’s threats betrayed the “obvious fact
that the man is panicking and running out of
options”.
“The jails are now not for criminals but for
us … I know his recent outburst where he
said that I was organising people against
him is a result of his anger at being rejected
by the people of Zimbabwe since we defeated
him in 2008. There is no doubt that we have
shaken Zanu PF’s hegemony since we were
formed.
“And the fact is that the people are
organising themselves against him and Zanu
PF.
“They want change, not only with regards to
Mugabe, but the whole system that has led us
to the pits where we are today. They want a
new leadership that is able to define a new
vision and promising future for the
country,” he thundered.
“There is also no doubt that there is a new
national convergence by Zimbabweans of all
persuasions, including war veterans,
workers, students, vendors and so on — on
the need to democratise our country and
create local and international confidence.
“Mugabe will be foolish to dismiss this as a
far-fetched dream … and we will not resort
to overthrowing him illegally to achieve
change and democracy in the country.
“But I can promise him that we will not stop
demanding what rightfully belongs to the
people,” the emotionally-charged Tsvangirai
added.
Since the country’s economy began
experiencing serious turbulence, including
witnessing banks running out of cash,
Mugabe’s government has come under
growing pressure as angry ordinary
Zimbabweans have mounted seemingly
unending demonstrations.
This coming weekend, 18 political parties will
hold rolling protests in 210 constituencies
around the country, despite Mugabe’s
threats.
Two weeks ago, heavily-armed police
ruthlessly crushed another Nera demo before
they invoked a controversial ban which was
later ruled unconstitutional by the High
Court.
Mugabe has also recently made threats
against the judiciary, in an ill-advised rant
which was widely seen as trying to sway the
Bench to his side in light of the growing
protests against Zanu PF’s misrule of the
past 36 years.