thronged Mkoba stadium while another 12,000-strong crowd turned up for a morning rally held at Mamutse stadium in Masvingo the following day.
The two rallies marked the first leg of a countrywide tour by the newly elected leadership team to meet the people and to chart the road map to a new Zimbabwe characterised by political and economic stability.
MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai told the crowds he was not worried by the dictatorship’s incessant threats to kill him if he led people in a sustained programme of democratic resistance to achieve a new and democratic society.
Tsvangirai told the crowds, to tumultuous applause, that he was prepared to die for the nation’s cause and he would not retreat on the pledge he made at Congress to ‘lead from the front.’ He said the people had made a clear statement at the recent Congress that elections alone without a parallel political programme would not bring a new Zimbabwe.
He reiterated he had not called for an illegal overthrow of the regime, but had merely said the people would express their anger in peaceful, non-violent confrontation with the dictatorship. He also introduced the newly elected leadership, dubbed ‘The Liberation Team’, and said he was confident they would heed the nation’s call to be the midwives in the birth of a new Zimbabwe.
Vice President Thokozani Khupe chronicled the untold suffering among Zimbabweans across the political divide, particularly the women and urged the nation to always remember that the future was in their hands.
The national chairman Isaac Matongo urged the all the party structures to remain vigilant and united. He said the party had devised a comprehensive mobilisation programme for the rural areas ahead of a cold winter of democratic resistance against tyranny.
Secretary-general Tendai Biti chronicled the collapse of all sectors of the economy and the endemic corruption that had eaten into the entire body politic. He also condemned the widespread thievery by the state itself, which he said was at the epicentre of the national crisis.
The national youth assembly chairperson, Thamsanqa Mahlangu and the women’s assembly chairperson, Lucia Matibenga, also addressed the rallies.
Thousands of opposition supporters continue to make a bold statement against the Mugabe dictatorship by turning up in large numbers at MDC rallies held in Gweru and Masvingo over the weekend to meet their new leadership and to chart the way forward.
In Gweru on Saturday, 17,000 MDC members