The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change Morgan Tsvangirai who is currently in Britain at the invitation of Chatham House says he will not die in office like President Robert Mugabe but at the same time he will not concede defeat in the 2013 elections.
Tsvangirai did not, however, says when he would step down. The party is holding a congress in October two years ahead of schedule after some members pressed him to step down to give way to a new leadership.
The team led by former secretary-general Tendai Biti and deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma has since formed a parallel organisation known as the Renewal Team.
Tsvangirai castigated the Renewal Team for diverting attention from the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front which was failing to run the country to him.
“Ambition is not criminal but there are rules. It is only congress that removes and installs leaders in the MDC. And I also want to assure you that I will not die in office like Robert Mugabe. I will leave office one day and leave others to carry the mantle forward,” he said according to a statement released by his spokesman Like Tamborinyoka.
Tsvangirai reiterated that the solution to Zimbabwe’s crisis was to form a broad coalition to look at the country’s problems and this should include churches and students.
I will not concede defeat to Mugabe — President Tsvangirai
UNITED KINGDOM – President Tsvangirai yesterday told Zimbabweans at a rally in Birmingham that the solution in Zimbabwe was unconditional dialogue and rejected outright the Zanu PF precondition that the MDC must first concede defeat in the elections of 2013.
“If they think I will concede defeat, they are deluding themselves because everyone knows last year’s election was stolen. I will not do it. Everyone knows that election was stolen,” President Tsvangirai told a rapturous crowd.
He said Zimbabweans were facing a serious crisis and the way forward was unconditional dialogue by not just political parties but a broad section of stakeholders that includes students, trade unions, industry and the church, among other players.
He said with good leadership, Zimbabwe had the potential to reclaim its rightful place on the continent and in the world. President Tsvangirai dismissed the speculation that the MDC was desperate to get back into government, saying the call for dialogue was a simple demand for a national conversation that had become very urgent in the wake of the crisis in the country.
He said with Zimbabweans facing such a huge crisis, others remained misguided by regarding him, and not Zanu PF, as being at the centre of the national crisis. He said there was a group of former colleagues in the MDC, that went on a retreat in January plotting, not how to deal with Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe who are the centre of the national crisis, but conspiring how to unconstitionally remove Morgan Tsvangirai from office.
“Ambition is not criminal but there are rules. It is only congress that removes and installs leaders in the MDC,” President Tsvangirai said to applause. “And I also want to assure you that I will not die in office like Robert Mugabe. I will leave office one day and leave others to carry the mantle forward,” he said.
President Tsvangirai is in the United Kingdom at the invitation of the Royal Institution of International Affairs who wanted him to speak on the situation in Zimbabwe at Chatham House. After his presentation at Chatham House on Friday, the President entered day three of his trip with the busy schedule that included an address to Zimbabweans in Birmingham yesterday.
The MDC leader also held an hour-long meeting with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham where they discussed the various areas of co-operation, including the possibility of twinning arrangements between the city of Birmingham and some of the cities in Zimbabwe, most of which are run by MDC-led councils.
The rally was preceded by a meeting between the MDC leader and party structures in the UK and Ireland before a rally was held in the afternoon. Later, the President, who is accompanied on the UK trip by his wife and officials from his office, was last night part of a fundraising dinner in Birmingham. The dinner was meant to raise funds for the party back home.
President Tsvangirai returns home this week.
Movement for Democratic Change