The Zimbabwean main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, on Friday hinted at the fact that his party had withdrawn its offer for dialogue with the ZANU-PF led government of veteran leader, Robert Mugabe. He also announced that his party was on the verge of rolling out anti government protests throughout the country.
The embattled leader who has been at the helm of the opposition MDC since its formation in 1999 and has lived through two discernible splits in his party said that he had tabled an offer to the president of the country to discuss several issues that were affecting the country, chief among which is the country’s flagging economy, which he says is getting worse by the day. Another issue he was hoping to discuss with the ninety year old leader was the high rate of unemployment in the country that is reported to be scaling the eighty percent mark and has led to most of the working population either going into informal employment, leaving the country to go into the diaspora or suffer under the burden of poverty. He however, conceded at a press conference in the capital city of Harare that his hopes for dialogue with the ZANU PF leader were flagging, resulting in his withdrawal.
Morgan Tsvangirai accused Mugabe of insensitivity to the plight of his nation after it was reported that some of his lieutenants had thrown a party in the State House, which was dubbed a national celebration. The MDC leader questioned the logic of holding the party at a time when the government was struggling even to do basic things such as paying salaries for its workers, the civil servants. He further accused the ruling party of planning to rig the country’s next elections. He added that the people of Zimbabwe were ” aware that protests and petitions of any scale and magnitude are permissible under our new Constitution.” He added that his party “unreservedly resists all forms of intimidation and coercion and resolved to support and stand by any sector in the country that will peacefully demand the resolution of any of the national grievances or express legitimate concerns of national interest.”
In this light, Tsvangirai, who earlier this year sacked his long standing Secretary General, Tendai Biti for, calling on him to step down, told those at the press conference that his party would roll out nationwide protests against Mugabe’s government for its failure to improve the Zimabwean economy. However, a ZANU PF Politburo member cautioned that any protests would be met with appropriate reprisals by the country’s security forces. He added that the security forces were well prepared to deal with any eventuality as far as protests were concerned. He added that, as government, they were not worried about anything in response to Tsvangirai’s statement in a letter to the SADC that the southern African development organisation should be made aware that the people of Zimbabwe were prepared to write their own script in as far as the freedom and democracy in the country were concerned. It however remains to be seen how effective the protests will be since the last protests in 2007 the party organised were fraught with heavy police presence and thousands had to flee the country, afterwards accusing the police of brutality.