Morgan Tsvangirai Starts Campaigning
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC-T and Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, addresses supporters in Epworth yesterday. The area is dirt poor, with no services to speak of at all and was previously a ZANU PF stronghold even at the height of the MDCs popularity with voters. The residents of Epworth finally switched to the MDC last year during the Harmonised elections that gave birth to the Inclusive Government. They have paid dearly since the violent Presidential "run-off" which saw them vote for Mugabe
Harare, Zimbabwe 18 December 2009
Not to be outdone by Mugabe and ZANU PF, who have embarked on an intensive campaign schedule of giving away computers to school as well as dishing out US$10 million worth of seed and fertiliser packs all over Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC president and Prime Minister in the Inclusive Government, has started his own campaigning.
It is a sign that he recognises now that Mugabe is determined to hold elections as soon as the FIFA World Cup in South Africa is finished. Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai are now telling their supporters to gird up their loincloths for battle in 2011.
So Tsvangirai went to Epworth yesterday, a poor, dirt poor part of Harare which used to be controlled by ZANU PF but swung to the MDC in the last General election which gave birth to the current Inclusive Government monster.
The PM visited three different homes where orphans and HIV/AIDS victims are housed.
The gatherings he addressed were not well-attended, but that was not the objective. He wanted to reassert his presence, to concentrate, as I advised, on reconnecting with the people instead of fighting battles in the New Cabinet Boardroom at Munhumutapa Building, the Presidential Office Complex.
Tsvangirai dished out US$10 000
He gave US$3000 to Chinyaradzo Children’s Home, another US$3 000 to Mashambanzou and US$ 4000 to Matthew Rusike Children's Home.
The Prime Minister made a stunning admission: "I have always heard about these centres but have never visited them"!
It took Mugabe's campaigning moves to get Tsvangirai to visit these orphans and HIV victims.
Mugabe and ZANU PF, with their mysterious US$10 million agriculture aid, are focusing purely on their rural strongholds. They still consider this their territory, having written off the urban areas as MDC strongholds. This is also why their campaign of intimidation is focused exclusively on the rural population.
There are plans by Mugabe to rework Constituencies as soon as he has put together an Electoral Commission, much as he did with his Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe constituency to give himself more seats in parliament.
I understand that this time, the delimination exercise, which will be held directly under Mugabe's supervision, will be more pervasive and will also split seven urban constituencies in the in order to neutralise any complaints that will surely come from opposition parties.
As you and I know, those protests will amount to nothing. Mugabe will dare the opposition to boycott the polls if they feel strongly about his moves. They will not, especially not Morgan Tsvangirai.
We are in a campaign - low-intensity for now, but sure to pick up pace in 2010. Mugabe is counting on the fact that the MDCs will be preoccupied with trying to rework the structures of government while he concentrates on beefing up support by means fair or foul.