Fear pervades Mashonaland East

President Tsvangirai in Mtoko

President Tsvangirai continued his listening tour in Mutoko and Murehwa in Mashonaland East province, where fear and intimidation continue to be the major factors gripping communities.

Pastors, chiefs, headmen, village heads, war veterans, women and ordinary villagers all spoke to endemic fear and intimidation being orchestrated by Zanu PF. Since the run-off violence of 2008, Zanu PF continues to emasculate communities, particularly chiefs and headmen, coercing them to frog-march people to vote for Zanu PF in the next election.

The community leaders said the national challenge was to unlock the fear planted in the villages and local areas where people were not free to express themselves.

The opinion leaders told President Tsvangirai that there must be a national clarion call to urge President Mugabe not to contest the next election. At the ripe age of 94, it is impossible for the nonagenarian to come up with any new ideas to rescue the country from the current abyss.

One war veteran bemoaned the fact that the war of liberation had brought independence but not freedom. Independence came alone, unclothed with the requisite freedoms for which so many Zimbabweans died.

In his response to the various inputs, President Tsvangirai told the opinion leaders that 2018 provided everyone with an opportunity to vote in a new government that would address their concerns. He assured war veterans and ex-detainees that the new government treasured their contribution and would address all their concerns. The agenda of the MDC, he said, was to complete the unfinished business of the liberation struggle, where political independence had come without freedoms.

President Tsvangirai said the new dispensation would create an inclusive society that would leave no one behind.

The community leaders in Mash East said they were behind the proposed alliance, on condition it was led by tried and tested leaders and that it was able to rally the nation towards change.

The underlying factor in Mash East is endemic fear and, as one pastor told President Tsvangirai, fear is a demon that needs to be exorcised ahead of the next election.

Tomorrow, the people's leader rounds up his tour of the province with an address to the party's provincial assembly in Marondera. From Mash East, President Tsvangirai will on Wednesday take his listening tour to Mashonaland Central.

Luke Tamborinyoka
Presidential Spokesperson and Director of Communications

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President Tsvangirai wades into Mashonaland East

President Tsvangirai wades into Mashonaland East

President Tsvangirai today kicked off the last leg of his listening tour in Wedza in Mashonaland East where opinion leaders spoke about the endemic fear planted by Zanu PF in their communities.

Traditional leaders, particularly chiefs and headmen, said Zanu PF killed and orchestrated violence against the people in 2008 and was invoking that period to instill fear and intimidate villagers and local communities.

The opinion leaders expressed their lack of trust and faith in the BVR process, saying Zanu PF would use the fingerprints issue to intimidate villagers to say the party would use the fingerprints to see where they had put their vote.

Just as in other provinces, the traditional leaders bemoaned their paltry allowances which were seven months in arrears. They said Zanu PF claimed the allowances were party money when in fact these allowances were State money funded by the taxpayers. “It is not Zanu PF money, and Zanu PF should not misrepresent itself as the State.” President Tsvangirai told the traditional leaders.

The people's President assured the community leaders that the people's vote was a secret and it was a lie by Zanu PF that they would be able, through the BVR process, to see where the people had placed their vote.

Fear and intimidation are emerging to be the key issues in Mashonaland East. The community leaders cited names and incidents to explain how fear, coercion and intimidation were the major instruments used by Zanu PF to cow villagers and keep rural communities at ransom.

On alliances, the community leaders said it was important to harness all energies to ensure that Zanu PF is pastured out in 2018.

President Tsvangirai will this afternoon hold a similar meeting with community leaders in Marondera. Tomorrow, he will be in Mutoko and Murehwa, engaging ordinary people on the crisis in the country, the new governance culture post-2018 as well as strategies to ensure that the people's will is protected.

Luke Tamborenyoka
Presidential Spokesperson and Director of Communications

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