Tuesday, August 13, 2013

(NEWZIMBABE) Crowds thin for Tsvangirai in Mugabe heartland
Home stretch ... Morgan Tsvangirai addresses supporters at Murehwa growth point
23/07/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

FEWER people turned up for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's rallies in Mashonaland East province on Tuesday as the MDC-T leader took the fight to one of the bastions of President Robert Mugabe’s support ahead of next week's elections.

Tsvangirai addressed rallies at Kotwa, Mutoko and Murehwa, braving a much more muted turnout by prospective voters compared to the bumper crowds he enjoyed in Bulawayo and the Midlands provinces at the weekend.

The MDC-T blamed the not-so enthusiastic reception on intimidation by Zanu PF with Tsvangirai warning traditional leaders – seen as a key cog in helping ensure Mugabe maintains a stranglehold on the country’s rural areas - that they would get their cummapence under his government after the polls.

“Whether you like it or not tichasangana pakuyambuka mukwasha naambuya,” he said.

“Ndichauya kuno ndave president ndichikubvunzai imi matraditional leaders kuti makamira papi? Sakai imi matraditional leaders mogara maziva kuti kunze kuchavara.”

He told supporters that it was the MDC-T’s policies in the coalition administration which ended the hyperinflationary mayhem of the last decade and forced the country’s economy onto a path to recovery.

The recovery could only be sustained if the MDC-T won next Wednesday’s elections, he added.
“Most of our young people are not employed and we want to create jobs for them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has also challenged Mugabe to a live television debate to discuss their party policies ahead of the elections.

Tsvangirai told supporters at a rally in Gweru that the debate would help voters see who has the best plan to uplift their lives.

"As we move closer to the election, I am also challenging Mugabe to a live debate on television, where each one of us will articulate our policies on how to make Zimbabwe a better place.

"I am challenging all the presidential candidates to a public debate so that Zimbabweans can see who has the best plan to uplift the lives of Zimbabweans," Tsvangirai said.

Tsvangirai said he was not afraid of such a debate as his party had clear people-oriented policies.
"This is a defining election because it is the last mile," he said.

In more progressive countries, politicians take part in televised debates where they get the opportunity to articulate their policies to the electorate.

If Mugabe accepts Tsvangirai's challenge, it will be the first of its kind in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe, however, has in the past turned down such challenges and in the current campaign, the 89-year-old Zanu PF candidate has been criticised for spending campaign hours dwelling on history instead of pushing through his party’s policies for the people if he is re-elected.

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