White City Stadium star rally great success

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The meeting was meant to start at 10.00 hrs, I got there at about 10.45 with my crew of local supporters. After being searched at the gate we were admitted to the stadium where a crowd of about 5000 was already waiting. At 11.30 the proceedings began - its difficult to estimate total numbers but the ground was full with people sitting down and the only stand was about half full. I would estimate 8 to 10 thousand people. The Zanu PF rally the previous day at the same venue must have had about 1500 people - mostly women. The MDC rally was 90 per cent men.

The atmosphere was relaxed - no police in sight although a general welcome was given to the CIO who were asked to report back to the "old man" that MDC was going to win the Bulawayo Mayor's position and then was going to win the State House. After prayers, several senior MDC people spoke - youth, the chairperson of the women's league, Gibson and Morgan plus - the star of the day, Japhet Ncube who is standing for Mayor. All were given a tremendous welcome - Ncube is obviously liked and respected. Gibson spoke like the experienced Trade Union leader that he is and Morgan was given a standing welcome with open hands, red cards and whistles all over the stadium.

Sitting with the people we got a good feeling of the meeting - no tension at all and no dissenting voices. In fact there was lot of good hearted banter and laughter. Jonathan Moyo was given a roasting as were the Zanu leaders who had failed to deliver what they promised over the past 21 years.

Once Morgan had spoken the crown prayed and then sang Nkosi Sikelele Africa and went home. On our way home the crew sang all the way and we were greeted everywhere with the open hand sign. About 6 whites attended - as usual we were totally accepted in the crowd as just another group of people come to hear the new leaders of Zimbabwe.

What a contrast with the Zanu rally - full of racial hatred and xenophobia, violence and threats. Refusing to acknowledge their failures and boasting of their recent "generosity" towards the people of Bulawayo. However they know - Bulawayo is a lost cause to Zanu PF and that is why Mugabe failed to show up for his star rally the previous day. That is also why there was no violence - this is a town that will no longer tolerate Zanu in any shape or form.

Eddie Cross
September 02, 2001