Remember Murambatsvina

HARARE - "Exactly one year after destroying the homes and livelihoods of almost a million Zimbabweans in Budiriro and other parts of the country, Zanu (PF) has the nerve to ask its victims to vote for it," said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai at the weekend.

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Addressing one of the biggest rallies ever seen in the high-density suburb, he urged the people to turn out in large numbers on Saturday to vote for the MDC candidate Emmanuel Chisvuure in order to send a clear message to Zanu (PF) that it was not wanted in Budiriro.

“Unemployment stands at over 90 per cent as companies continue to close down. But surprisingly Zanu (PF) has the audacity to come to you to ask for your vote. Hunger is now inevitable because of the failed agricultural policies and the food deficits that Mugabe continues to deny. No serious person today can deny that despite claims to the contrary, Zimbabwe will experience an acute food deficit. We are at the heart of danger,” said the MDC leader.

Tsvangirai said Chisvuure’s main role would be to mobilize and lead the people of Budiriro into action against the dictatorship Tsvangirai told the crowd, estimated by MDC officials at more than 20 000.

He condemned state-sponsored violence in Budiriro, which he noted was being encouraged by senior Zanu (PF) leaders. On Friday, Zanu (PF) allegedly bussed in hordes of its supporters to attack MDC members at a rally in the suburb.

Tsvangirai’s message to the security forces was consistent with his earlier call for restraint. “Our security forces have a constitutional mandate to protect Zimbabweans, not to abuse them. I have yet to meet a police officer, a CIO operative or a soldier who was hired and employed specifically to beat up his own parents. Your profession is a noble one. Guard it jealously. You protect the people and the country. Stick to that,” he said.

Unlike military dictatorships elsewhere, members of Zimbabwean security forces live with the people as lodgers and neighbours. They shop in the same neighbourhoods. They are part of the community. “So, do not be deceived by Zanu (PF). Do not allow yourselves to be abused by Robert Mugabe and his corrupt officials. Work with the people. We are all suffering together,” he said.

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