Just been watching the celebrations in Nepal following the King's
to give in to popular demands that he restore the democratic structures
that country. It is very moving to see this massive commitment by
ordinary people in a very poor country demanding that they no longer be
treated as feudal slaves to a totalitarian regime but be granted the
democratic right to choose their own government.
My mind goes back to that night in Harare in 2002 when people were
cast their votes because the regime here had reduced the number of
stations and the remaining ones were unable to cope. The sight of
of people demanding their rights and standing in queues for days and
to do so was imprinted indelibly in my mind.
We traveled up to Mutare on Saturday for the MDC rally there and then
through to Harare to be present at the rally in the Zimbabwe stadium in
Highfield. For those who are not aware of these grounds they are very
the home of African Nationalism in Zimbabwe. It was to these grounds
Mugabe came when he returned from overseas to lead his Party to contest
first 'one person, one vote' election.
By now many of you would have seen some images from these two events,
being there was a very special experience. The Mutare rally was very
attended - perhaps 25 000 people, but what stood out was the presences
traditional leaders from the Province. One of the most senior Chiefs in
country sent an aide and his most trusted lieutenant to the rally to
the gift of a ram from Roy Bennett who is in South Africa seeking
Their presence electrified the gathering and the simple dignity of the
ceremony involving the gift from Roy, who's the adopted son of Chief
Mutambara, was a special aspect of the rally. The people also presented
Morgan with a ram - a sign of respect and leadership. Aside from this,
gathering was disciplined and attentive - people wanted to hear what
being planned to resolve the national crisis. Roy phoned up after the
to find out how it had gone and was very emotional - wished he had been
there and feeling far away from home. But no doubt he is better off
is - no use to us in prison here on some trumped up charges.
We then traveled through to Harare to the rally there, arriving at
and joining a huge crowd gathered to hear Morgan Tsvangirai. It was
apparent that he is the man of the moment - the people gave him a
greeting when he arrived and when he rose to speak at 16.30 hours the
crowd - perhaps by then 40 thousand people, went completely quiet. They
wanted to hear what he had to say, what he was planning to do to get
country back on its feet.
This completes the second phase of our programme leading up to the
of 'people power' to try and change the course of events in Zimbabwe.
first step was to get our Congress behind us and this we have - with
success. Now we have held rallies in all major centers in the country -
again with good results, large crowds of very attentive and supportive
people. All these functions have been disciplined and gave the
no problems - no violence and no heckling or disorderly behavior. They
also demonstrated to all who watch events here, just who has the
hearts and hearing. They also demonstrate the extent to which popular
support for Zanu PF has waned in the past decade, references to Mr.
were received with derision and laughter.
So where do we go next? The MDC is now pressing on with a Provincial
programme - we are holding meetings across the country in the next few
to explain what it means to take the struggle to the streets using only
people power to influence events. Twelve teams have been formed and
are now fanning out across the country meeting the people and alerting
to what we expect from them during our winter of discontent.
Just to highlight their desperation and inability to get anything
regime has announced another 'recovery programme'. The actual content
this is so ridiculous it simply serves to emphasize how little this
has learned about managing the economy in the past 26 years. Mutasa,
months has been threatening the remaining commercial farmers, does a
complete about turn and says they are prepared to 'allow' white farmers
to their farms on certain terms.
No such desperation for Mugabe however, on Tuesday last week he went
his way to say that they would take 51 per cent of the mining industry
because that is what being independent was all about. Needless to say,
attempts to repair the damage done by the Minister when he leaked draft
legislation to this effect, was wiped out and the mining industry now
they face a bleak and uncertain future - at a time when commodity
seem to be unstoppable.
We have decided to give the bi-election in Budiriro a go - this seat
held by a MDC Parliamentarian and the Party felt that we should not
this political space to Zanu PF. We held our primaries and a young
(he is 32 years old) was elected. At the nomination Court on Friday we
no problems getting his candidacy accepted but the Registrar General
the Mutambara group to register with the same name as the MDC and the
symbols. So we now have an election coming up with the potential for
confusion as to who is who.
This was quite deliberate - and we will have to counter it with a
to explain the problem to our supporters in the area so that they do
just vote MDC - but make sure they know who it is they are voting for.
voter's roll closed two weeks ago and as of today we have been unable
a copy - for Z$10 million cash! But we hear that Zanu is still
voters in the rural areas adjacent to the constituency - the usual ruse
The motive of the Mutambara group in doing this is also not difficult
understand - if you cannot gatecrash the Party then just be a spoiler.
we are saying to our people in the Constituency is we know that the
is largely irrelevant to the resolution of the crisis - but lets show
rest where the peoples hearts are and turn out in large numbers to
rigging and the confusion that is being used to try and defeat the MDC
Bulawayo, 26th April 2006