By Staff Reporter
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he was shocked by the arrest and torture of eight Mthwakazi activists by the state apparatus last week, as he urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to go for elections to earn a proper mandate to rule.
“This new administration has to earn its legitimacy through a proper election. It must seek the people’s mandate,” the ex-prime minister said in his new year message to Zimbabweans on Monday.
“The new government has to break away from the past and genuinely chart a new trajectory to a dispensation of clean politics that truly puts the country and its people first.
“It has to respect diversity and to appreciate that despite our different political formations, we are all patriotic Zimbabweans who yearn for the best for our country.”
Mnangagwa became President following the shock ouster of then President Robert Mugabe by the military in November last year.
The country’s new leader has said elections set for the next few months shall proceed as scheduled.
But Tsvangirai, set to challenge Mnangagwa for the country’s top job, bemoaned the slow implementation of electoral reforms even under the new Mnangagwa dispensation.
He said this had a huge bearing on the outcome of the potentially watershed elections.
Tsvangirai implored the country’s new rulers to ensure the country broke from its bitter past under ousted leader as he expressed dismay at signs of intolerance to free citizen expression by the new office bearers.
“Political difference must be celebrated and the people must be allowed to express themselves,” he said.
“That is why I was shocked by the new regime’s iron-fist response two weeks ago to Zimbabweans in Bulawayo who sought to alert the government of the deep-seated wounds that are still festering since the Gukurahundi atrocities of the 1980s.
“That response was wanton, unjustified and shows that the Mnangagwa administration still has a lot of work to do to earn our faith and trust,” he said.
The youths from the Mthwakazi Republic Party were seized by police and army personnel when they demonstrated against Mnangagwa’s alleged role in the massacre of an estimated 20,000 civilians in Matebeleland and Midlands soon after independence.