Tsvangirai says I will step down once my time is up


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Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been under pressure to step down to save the party, yesterday said he will give way and pass on the baton once his time is up.

According to a statement released by his party today, Tsvangirai told a rally in Budiriro yesterday: “I am not Mugabe. I am not ZANU- PF. I know what the party’s constitution says. Once my time is up, I will give way to another leader and pass on the button.”

But he added: “What I refuse to do is to be told to step down outside of the party’s constitution. It is at congress that new candidates avail themselves to the electorate. We should lay the appropriate foundation so that the future generation will have a strong foundation upon which to build the party.”

Tsvangirai has been under pressure to step down from his lieutenants mostly those who handle cash, but the 210 party districts backed him to continue to lead the party until the next congress in 2016.

Critics say while Tsvangirai has every right to hang on until his term expires, there will be little time for his successor to campaign.

Press release:

Monday, 03 March 2014

President Tsvangirai’s address at a rally in Budiriro on Sunday

Below are some excerpts of President Tsvangirai’s address at a rally in Budiriro 5, Harare before over 15 000 party supporters on Sunday.

On violence
“The MDC is a party that does not tolerate any form of violence and there is no violence in the MDC as we do not support violence. We want to make it clear that once a party member assaults anyone, you have lost the party’s direction. The MDC is not about an individual; it is a people’s movement.

Zanu PF is planning on infiltrating the MDC with people who will in our midst cause commotion and violence but I want to remind you that we do not have the DNA of violence in the MDC.

As the MDC, we have been the victims of violence, not the perpetrators. How can I perpetrate violence when we have a lot of party members who have been killed, women who were raped, houses that were destroyed, people who were displaced and others injured?

It is a travesty against justice when an elderly person like Zanu PF’s Robert Mugabe pretends to be a saint when he has got more than 20 000 graves to his name.

On democracy
I am not Mugabe, I am not Zanu PF. I know what the party’s Constitution says. Once my time is up, I will give way to another leader and pass on the button.

We have got a system called a Constitution. It gives a step by step guide of what ought to be done in the party. That document is clear on what happens when one’s term of office elapses. So I know when to pass the button to the next leader in the party.

What I refuse to do is to be told to step down outside of the party’s Constitution. It is at Congress that new candidates avail themselves to the electorate. We should lay the appropriate foundation so that the future generation will have a strong foundation upon which to build the party.

We are a democratic party. Democracy is not a means to an end. Democracy is a principle and the goal of our struggle. We are not interested in acquiring power and that’s it, democracy is not about removing an individual. It is a principle that will live forever and ever. It is much more challenging to build a democratic society.

I urge those that want to aspire for higher office to wait for the right time and people will elect you to the position you want.

As the MDC, we need to be united as a party. I am not going to push anyone out of the tent unless one chooses to do so. I believe we need everyone inside the tent not outside so that we fight off Zanu PF dictatorship as one.

On corruption
Over US$2 billion worth of diamonds have disappeared in this country due to looting by Zanu PF linked officials. The biggest diamond resources in the world are found at Marange but as the people of Zimbabwe, we have nothing to show for it.

As the MDC, we have shown that we are a party that deals with corruption. In Chitungwiza in 2009 we fired the whole council because of corruption, but because (Ignatious) Chombo is corrupt, he reinstated them.

Harare City Mayor (Ben Manyenyeni) suspended the Town Clerk (Tendai Mahachi) last month, but Chombo again turned around that suspension.

Hefty and obscene salaries are being paid to parastatal bosses. When someone steals, they must be arrested so that others with like minded personalities are deterred. If not, they too are arrested. The then MDC Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals (Hon. Gorden Moyo) developed a corporate governance framework for all parastatals but this was thrown away by Zanu PF and now we hear that Gershem Pasi (the Zimra boss) is earning over US$300 000 per month over other hefty salaries we continue to hear about in the media.

Zanu PF and Mugabe stole the people’s mandate in the last election. If you see a party that steals the people’s mandate and has a crisis of legitimacy, that party is very corrupt and can therefore not act on corruption.

In the last inclusive government, we formed the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission to deal with the issue of corruption. This Commission must be given teeth so that they do their work. MP’s have a committee on corruption; this is the time that Parliament has an oversight of all corrupt activities.

On economy
Zanu PF has shown that it cannot solve the economic crisis of this country but we as the MDC we have shown that we can turnaround this economy overnight. Mugabe has said it on his own that they (Zanu PF) have failed. When a government fails, it should be changed.

(6 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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