By Nkanyiso Ncube
Former Prime Minister and Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday wound up his Manicaland consultative meeting with MDC-T supporters skeptical of coalition talks between the party and other opposition parties.
The supporters, who met MDC-T Tsvangirai in Manicaland, said the opposition leader must not abandon the leadership of his party to proponents of the grand coalition.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said the consultative meeting was ongoing as the party seeks to gather supporters’ opinions of coalition proposal ahead of the 2018 elections.
“Tsvangirai today (yesterday) wound up his three-day consultation programme in Manicaland with a breakfast meeting with business leaders and an address to the provincial assembly”.
“It has been an enriching engagement with opinion leaders from Chipinge to Nyanga. The consultations revealed fear and intimidation in the communities, abuse of traditional leaders, scepticism over ZEC independence as well as the biometric voting system,” he said.
Tsvangirai has been on a tour to consult people on the crisis facing the country and the governance architecture post-2018, among other issues.
“Over 200 traditional healers, traditional leaders, pastors, civil servants and other community leaders engaged in a highly interactive meeting with Tsvangirai. The community leaders made invaluable strategic inputs on key issues to do with the alliance of opposition parties, elections as well as a new-governance culture after 2018, which they said must be inclusive,” he said
Tamborinyoka said traditional leaders reiterated the grievances faced by MDC-T supporters such as intimidation and violence by Zanu PF supporters.
“On alliances, the traditional leaders in Chipinge gave their thumbs up but urged Tsvangirai to use his due diligence to vet all political parties before making a decision to work with any one of them”.
“The community leaders said they wanted a truly free and fair election in 2018. They bemoaned their abuse by Zanu PF and pledged that they will not allow themselves to be abused to frog march people to vote for a particular political party but will let people express themselves,” he said.
Tsvangirai has so far visited Matabeleland, Masvingo and Manicaland.