by Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has taken the extraordinary step of accusing a newspaper sympathetic to his MDC-T party of “raising political tensions” in the country through sensational reporting and deliberate distortions.
Tsvangirai reacted after the privately-owned Daily News splashed with a story on Saturday under the headline, ‘Mugabe wants war: Tsvangirai’. Waving a copy of the newspaper while addressing a prayer meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches at Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo, Tsvangirai said: “This story claims that I said (President) Mugabe wants war. I never said that, it's not true."
He added: "We want peace to prevail in the country, but we have problems with some newspapers that write misleading and inaccurate stories.”
Tsvangirai has previously reserved that treatment for the state media, which he has publicly accused of falsifying stories to discredit his party.
But the MDC-T’s distrust of the stridently pro-Zanu PF state media has been conversely matched by Zanu PF’s mistrust of The Daily News – both sides of the media divide accused of abandoning professional standards in pursuit of sensational headlines.
The Daily News report relied on quotes which Tsvangirai made at a news conference last Thursday at which he demanded political reforms before new elections.
“Zimbabweans want a peaceful election and not a war. That is what the people of this country want and that is what SADC wants,” Tsvangirai told delegates at the launch of a document by his party outlining ‘Conditions for a Sustainable Election in Zimbabwe’.
Tsvangirai said pro-Mugabe military chiefs had told him that even if he won elections expected this year he would never be allowed to take over from the Zanu PF leader.
“We have instead been told by a few individuals at the helm of these sectors that anyone other than President Mugabe, even if they win an election, will not be able to take up their mandate,” the MDC-T leader said.
“They have even gone further to dismiss the significance of an electoral process by saying that they will not tolerate a new regime in Harare ushered in through the ballot because President Mugabe cannot be removed by a ‘mere pen which costs less than five cents’.”
Tsvangirai said such utterances by a clearly partisan security infrastructure made implementation of political reforms his party is demanding even more urgent.
“The security of the person (who wins the elections), the security of the vote and the security of the people needs to be guaranteed before we even start to cast our ballots,” he said.
[And yet, the Armed Forces also take an oath to protect the country and the constitution. Why would they follow a traitor? If Morgan Tsvangirai wants to prove his bonafides, let him abolish ZDERA, and start talks about compensating the Zimbabwean people for the economic damage that was done to the country, the economy, and their reputation. - MrK]